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Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin

Getting every child's heart OK (gECHO) study



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


Kathryn Roberts
Project Manager
Menzies School of Health Research
John Matthews Building
Building 58 Royal Darwin Hospital Campus
PO Box 41096
Casuarina NT 0811
Phone: (08) 8922 8196
Fax: (08) 8927 5187

Related publications

Rémond MGW, Severin KL, Hodder Y, Martin J, Nelson C, Atkinson D, Maguire GP (2013)

Variability in disease burden and management of rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease in two regions of tropical Australia.

Internal Medicine Journal; 43(4): 386–393


Last updated: 29 September 2015
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