The gECHO Study is a population based survey to document the extent of undiagnosed rheumatic heart disease. The aim of this project is to determine the prevalence of Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) among Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous children by screening children age 5-14 for RHD. It also aims to determine the most sensitive and specific screening method for RHD and use this information to guide future screening programs.
The Kimberley is one of 4 sites across the north of Australia. In the Kimberley the aim is to screen school-aged children between ages 5-14 in approximately 8 remote communities. This will involve a 10 minute screening echocardiogram. If abnormalities are noted on this screening echocardiogram, these children will then progress to a full echocardiogram. The results of any abnormal echocardiograms will be referred on to the relevant doctors, specialists and other clinical staff for appropriate follow-up so that any children with previously undiagnosed RHD can be offered prophylaxis.
Data on the prevalence of RHD will be collected. This data will be used not only to report on the true prevalence of RHD in the Kimberley, but also the most sensitive and specific methods of screening and refine the current consensus case definition of RHD based on echocardiography-based diagnosis (ie: refine the diagnostic criteria for accurate echocardiographic screening).
Data collection has been completed.
Remond, M. G.; Severin, K. L.; Hodder, Y.; Martin, J.; Nelson, C.; Atkinson, D.; Maguire, G. P. Variability in disease burden and management of rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease in two regions of tropical Australia Intern Med J. 2012; in press.