December 09, 2020
More tests needed to pick up wider rheumatic heart disease
A paediatric infectious diseases specialist says closer attention needs to be paid to the siblings of children with rheumatic fever.
Dr Rachel Webb is leading a team at Counties Manukau District Health Board looking at early detection of rheumatic heart disease in a new Health Research Council-initiative aimed at encouraging more community-driven research.
Her team will develop and test a new nurse-led approach for offering heart scans to siblings of children recently diagnosed with acute rheumatic fever at Kidz First Children's Hospital.
She says it draws on previous research.
"Brothers and sisters of children with rheumatic fever have a three times higher chance of having rheumatic heart valve damage than children in the wider population and currently in our health system there aren't systems or services to enable these children to have a health check or take that truly whānau-centred approach," Dr Webb says.
Counties Manukau experiences the highest-burden of acute rheumatic fever and chronic rheumatic heart disease of any region, with almost all cases occurring among Māori and Pacific peoples.
Copyright © 2020, UMA Broadcasting Ltd: www.waateanews.com