Turkish Archives of Pediatrics

Echocardiographic Screening of Rheumatic Heart Disease: Current Concepts and Challenges


Division of Social Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, Ankara University Faculty of Medicine, Ankara, Turkey


Division of Pediatrics, Department of Pediatric Cardiology, Ankara University Faculty of Medicine, Ankara, Turkey

Turk Arch Pediatr 2024; 59: 3-12
DOI: 10.5152/TurkArchPediatr.2024.23162
Read: 932 Downloads: 261 Published: 02 January 2024

The incidence of acute rheumatic fever (ARF), which most commonly affects children aged 5-15 years after group A Streptococcus (GAS) infection, ranges from 8 to 51 per 100 000 people worldwide. Rheumatic heart disease (RHD), which occurs when patients with ARF are inappropriately treated or not given regular prophylaxis, is the most common cause of non-congenital heart disease in children and young adults in low-income countries. Timely treatment of GAS infection can prevent ARF, and penicillin prophylaxis can prevent recurrence of ARF. Secondary prophylaxis with benzathine penicillin G has been shown to decrease the incidence of RHD and is a key aspect of RHD control. The most important factor determining the prognosis of RHD is the severity of cardiac involvement. Although approximately 70% of patients with carditis in the acute phase of the disease recover without sequelae, carditis is important because it is the only complication of ARF that causes sequelae. One-third of patients with ARF are asymptomatic. Patients with mild symptoms of recurrent ARF and silent RHD will develop severe morbidities within 5-10 years if they do not receive secondary preventive treatments. A new screening program should be established to prevent cardiac morbidities of ARF in moderate- and highrisk populations. In the present study, we examined the applicability of echocardiographic screening programs for RHD.

Cite this article as: Topçu S, Uçar T. Echocardiographic screening of rheumatic heart disease: Current concepts and challenges. Turk Arch Pediatr. 2024;59(1):3-12.

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