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The Getting every child's heart OK (gECHO) program was a population based survey to document the extent of undiagnosed rheumatic heart disease (RHD). The aim of this project was to determine the prevalence of RHD among Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous children. It also aimed to determine the most sensitive and specific screening method for RHD and use this information to guide future screening programs. The study was carried out across the north of Australia between 2008 and 2010, and performed an echocardiogram (ECG) on around 5000 children aged between 5 and 14.
The results of gECHO have helped to develop more accurate criteria for diagnosis of RHD on echo and ensure that only people who really have RHD will be treated for it. The program has also provided greater information to assist policy makers in deciding the best screening methods for RHD.
The research found:
The Rheumatic fever follow up study (RhFFUS) project is a follow on initiative from the gECHO study.
Abstract adapted from Menzies School of Health Research
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