Early case detection is vital in rheumatic heart disease (RHD) in children to minimize the risk of advanced valvular heart disease by preventive measures. The currently utilized World Health Organization (WHO) criteria for echocardiographic diagnosis of subclinical RHD emphasize the presence of pathological valve regurgitation but do not include valves with morphological features of RHD without pathological regurgitation. We hypothesized that adding morphological features to diagnostic criteria might have significant consequences in terms of case detection rates.
We screened 2170 randomly selected school children aged 6 to 17 years in Maputo, Mozambique, clinically and by a portable ultrasound system. Two different echocardiographic sets of criteria for RHD were assessed: "WHO" (exclusively Doppler-based) and "combined" (Doppler and morphology-based) criteria. Independent investigators reviewed all suspected RHD cases using a higher-resolution, nonportable ultrasound system. On-site echocardiography identified 18 and 124 children with suspected RHD according to WHO and combined criteria, respectively. After consensus review, 17 were finally considered to have definite RHD according to WHO criteria, and 66 had definite RHD according to combined criteria, giving prevalence rates of 7.8 (95% confidence interval, 4.6 to 12.5) and 30.4 (95% confidence interval, 23.6 to 38.5) per 1000 children, respectively (P<0.0001, exact McNemar test).
Important consideration should be given to echocardiographic criteria for detecting subclinical RHD because the number of cases detected may differ importantly according to the diagnostic criteria utilized. Currently recommended WHO criteria risk missing up to three quarters of cases of subclinically affected and therefore potentially treatable children with RHD.
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"On the basis of screening test performed in students, Marijon et al28, added morphological criteria for
valvular structure to the already existing Doppler criteria used to diagnose subclinical
CRC in populations with high ARF prevalence. They concluded that with this addition
there was a better characterization of valvular lesions consistent with rheumatic
disease, allowing a more careful diagnosis and with a lower risk of loss of subclinical
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: Previous studies indicate that compared with physical examination, Doppler echocardiography identifies a larger number of cases of rheumatic heart disease in apparently healthy individuals. Objectives: To determine the prevalence of rheumatic heart disease among students in a public school of Belo Horizonte by clinical evaluation and Doppler echocardiography. Methods: This was a cross-sectional study conducted with 267 randomly selected school students aged between 6 and 16 years. students underwent anamnesis and physical examination with the purpose of establishing criteria for the diagnosis of rheumatic fever. They were all subjected to Doppler echocardiography using a portable machine. Those who exhibited nonphysiological mitral regurgitation (MR) and/or aortic regurgitation (AR) were referred to the Doppler echocardiography laboratory of the Hospital das Clínicas of the Universidade Federal of Minas Gerais (HC-UFMG) to undergo a second Doppler echocardiography examination. According to the findings, the cases of rheumatic heart disease were classified as definitive, probable, or possible. Results: Of the 267 students, 1 (0.37%) had a clinical history compatible with the diagnosis of acute rheumatic fever (ARF) and portable Doppler echocardiography indicated nonphysiological MR and/or AR in 25 (9.4%). Of these, 16 (6%) underwent Doppler echocardiography at HC-UFMG. The results showed definitive rheumatic heart disease in 1 student, probable rheumatic heart disease in 3 students, and possible rheumatic heart disease in 1 student. Conclusion: In the population under study, the prevalence of cases compatible with rheumatic involvement was 5 times higher on Doppler echocardiography (18.7/1000; 95% CI 6.9/1000-41.0/1000) than on clinical evaluation (3.7/1000-95% CI).
Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · Arquivos Brasileiros de Cardiologia
"In the UK alone, more than 4 million people from 75 to 84 years of age could develop VHD by 2018, and this figure could double by 2028 . In developing countries, VHD is primarily caused by the persistent burden of rheumatic fever rather than degenerative pathology, and tends to affect younger individuals  . The pathophysiology of valvular heart disease is broad and the specific etiology varies by the particular valve affected. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tissue engineered heart valves offer a promising alternative for the replacement of diseased heart valves avoiding the limitations faced with currently available bioprosthetic and mechanical heart valves. In the paradigm of tissue engineering, a three-dimensional platform - the so-called scaffold - is essential for cell proliferation, growth, and differentiation as well as the ultimate generation of a functional tissue. A foundation for success in heart valve tissue engineering is recapitulation of the complex design and diverse mechanical properties of a native valve. This article reviews technological details of the scaffolds that have been applied to date in heart valve tissue engineering research.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2014 · Acta biomaterialia
"A recent study suggests that under the current World Health Organization (WHO) criteria, there is a risk of missing up to three quarters of all cases of RHD.  Despite increasing evidence supporting its diagnostic importance, echo is still not considered to be a major criterion for diagnosing ARF, as reflected in the most recent modification of Jones criteria by the WHO. In this present study, we performed Doppler echocardiography in ARF children clinically diagnosed by the Jones criteria in order to compare its effectiveness in detecting single/multi-valvular lesions over clinical evaluation alone. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Doppler echocardiography has been demonstrated to be accurate in diagnosing valvular lesions in rheumatic heart disease (RHD) when compared to clinical evaluation alone.
To perform Doppler echocardiography in children clinically diagnosed by the Jones criteria to have acute rheumatic fever (ARF), and to then compare the effectiveness of echo in detecting single/multi-valvular lesions with that of the initial clinical evaluation.
We enrolled 93 children who were previously diagnosed with ARF by clinical examination. Presence of valvular lesions were enlisted, first by clinical auscultation, and then by performing Doppler echocardiography. We found that Doppler echocardiography was a sensitive technique, capable of detecting valvular lesions that were missed by clinical auscultation alone. Echocardiography of patients with carditis revealed mitral regurgitation to be the most common lesion present (53 patients, 56.98%), followed by aortic regurgitation in 21 patients (22.6%). The difference between clinical and echocardiographic diagnosis in ARF children with carditis was statistically significant for mitral regurgitation, aortic regurgitation and tricuspid regurgitation. Clinical auscultation alone revealed 4 cases of mitral stenosis, 39 mitral regurgitation, 14 aortic regurgitation, 9 tricuspid regurgitation; in contrast, echo revealed 5 cases of mitral stenosis, 53 mitral regurgitation, 21 aortic regurgitation, 18 tricuspid regurgitation.
Doppler echocardiography is a more sensitive technique for detecting valvular lesions. In the setting of ARF, echo enables a 46.9% higher detection level of carditis, as compared to the clinical examination alone. Echo was very significant in detecting regurgitation lesions, especially for cases of tricuspid regurgitation in the setting of multivalvular involvement. The results of our study are in accordance with previous clinical studies, all of which clearly demonstrate the advantages of Doppler echocardiography, paving the way for its probable inclusion as one of the Jones major criteria for diagnosing ARF.