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Journal articles

Rheumatic heart disease in The Gambia: clinical and valvular aspects at presentation and evolution under penicillin prophylaxis

Abstract : Background: Rheumatic heart disease (RHD) remains the leading cause of cardiac-related deaths and disability in children and young adults worldwide. In The Gambia, the RHD burden is thought to be high although no data are available and no control programme is yet implemented. We conducted a pilot study to generate baseline data on the clinical and valvular characteristics of RHD patients at first presentation, adherence to penicillin prophylaxis and the evolution of lesions over time. Methods: All patients registered with acute rheumatic fever (ARF) or RHD at two Gambian referral hospitals were invited for a clinical review that included echocardiography. In addition, patients were interviewed about potential risk factors, disease history, and treatment adherence. All clinical and echocardiography information at first presentation and during follow-up was retrieved from medical records. Results: Among 255 registered RHD patients, 35 had died, 127 were examined, and 111 confirmed RHD patients were enrolled, 64% of them females. The case fatality rate in 2017 was estimated at 19.6%. At first presentation, median age was 13 years (IQR [9; 18]), 57% patients had late stage heart failure, and 84.1% a pathological heart murmur. Although 53.2% of them reported history of recurrent sore throat, only 32.2% of them had sought medical treatment. A history suggestive of ARF was reported by 48.7% patients out of whom only 15.8% were adequately treated. Two third of the patients (65.5%) to whom it was prescribed were fully adherent to penicillin prophylaxis. Progressive worsening and repeated hospitalisation was experienced by 46.8% of the patients. 17 patients had cardiac surgery, but they represented only 18.1% of the 94 patients estimated eligible for cardiac surgery. Conclusion: This study highlights for the first time in The Gambia the devastating consequences of RHD on the health of adolescents and young adults. Our findings suggest a high burden of disease that remains largely undetected and without appropriate secondary prophylaxis. There is a need for the urgent implementation of an effective national RHD control programto decrease the unacceptably high mortality rate, improve case detection and management, and increase community awareness of this disease.
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Submitted on : Friday, December 10, 2021 - 10:42:32 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, April 7, 2022 - 1:58:21 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Friday, March 11, 2022 - 6:46:16 PM


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Lamin E S Jaiteh, Lamin Drammeh, Suzanne T Anderson, John Mendy, Samba Ceesay, et al.. Rheumatic heart disease in The Gambia: clinical and valvular aspects at presentation and evolution under penicillin prophylaxis. BMC Cardiovascular Disorders, BioMed Central, 2021, 21 (1), pp.503. ⟨10.1186/s12872-021-02308-8⟩. ⟨inserm-03474321⟩



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