Screening for the prevalence of Rheumatic Heart Disease among school
children in Egypt
Background: In low-income nations, Rheumatic valvular
heart disease remains a major cause of morbidity and premature deaths.
Accurate prevalence data in Egypt are still lacking yet highly desirable
to facilitate health care planning. Methodology: An
cluster sample of school children in eastern Egyptian Governorates was
examined clinically and echocardiographically (using abbreviated
protocol) for detection of rheumatic valvular heart disease based on
2012 World Heart Federation criteria (the Doppler and the morphological
criteria) for diagnosis. According to echocardiography interpretation,
participants were categorized as having definite RHD, borderline RHD or
no RHD. Results: A total A total of 1680 students aged
between 6 and 18 years were screened, 119 echocardiographic studies were
non-interpretable; so, a total of 1560 studies were evaluated. From the
total screened students, 1560 studies were adequate and interpretable
according to the criteria specified in the methods section. This
revealed a prevalence of 2.3% of the sample with RHD without adding the
equivocal cases. The most prevalent lesion as detected by
echocardiography was mitral regurgitation (29% of definite RHD cases).
Conclusion: Rheumatic valvular heart disease remains
prevalent in Egypt and the findings of this study should influence early
detection, primary and secondary prevention, and adequate future
national health plans.