Background: Rheumatic heart disease remains a major public health problem in developing countries with its very high prevalence. Rheumatic and congenital heart disease are significant causes of morbidity and mortality among Nepalese schoolchildren. The aim of our study was to determine the prevalence of rheumatic and congenital heart disease among schoolchildren of the Kathmandu valley in Nepal.
Methods and results: The study included 9420 students, of whom 4466 were male and 4954 were female, with ages ranging from 5 to 18 years. A clinical survey was conducted by the examining team in selected schools, and involved answering standard questionnaires. A total of 83 children were suspected of having heart disease. Out of these 83 children, 23 were confirmed to have heart disease; 11 had rheumatic heart disease, and 12 congenital heart disease, giving a prevalence of 1.2/1000 and 1.3/1000, respectively. The commonest cardiac lesions were mitral regurgitation in the rheumatic heart disease group, and atrial septal defect in the congenital heart disease group. A higher prevalence of congenital heart disease was detected in females.
Conclusions: The prevalence of rheumatic heart disease and congenital heart disease among schoolchildren of Kathmandu is 1.2/1000 and 1.3/1000, respectively, with mitral regurgitation and atrial septal defect being the commonest lesions.