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The Rheumatic Fever Follow-Up Study (RhFFUS) aimed to investigate the significance of minor heart abnormalities in Indigenous Australian children. It followed on from the earlier Getting Every Child's Heart Okay (gECKO) study.
Currently, there is international criteria for the diagnosis of rheumatic heart disease (RHD), but the significance of minor heart valve abnormalities which do not meet the criteria for RHD was unclear prior to this study.
The study involved assessment of children aged between 8 and 17 years from 32 remote Indigenous communities in Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory. It assessed whether children with minor heart abnormalities develop acute rheumatic fever (ARF) or RHD over a five year period.
The results of this project will assist the development of an improved early screening program for ARF and RHD.
The project was a collaboration between Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute Central Australia, James Cook University, the University of Western Australia and Menzies School of Health Research. The project was funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).
Abstract adapted from James Cook University
Associate Professor Graeme Maguire
Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute Central Australia
PO Box 1294
Alice Springs NT 0871
Ph: (08) 8959 0111
Fax: (08) 8952 1557