Rheumatic heart disease prevalence among schoolchildren of an Ethiopian rural town

Cardiology. 1992;80(2):152-5. doi: 10.1159/000174993.


Rheumatic heart disease (RHD) is the most important cardiovascular disease in hospital practice in Ethiopia. However, the prevalence rate of RHD at the community level remains unknown. The current survey was undertaken to estimate its prevalence among schoolchildren of a central Ethiopian rural town (Butajira). Accordingly, 92.8% of the entire schoolchildren (n = 3.235) in the town were screened. Their mean age was 13.4 +/- 3.5 years. Fifteen children, accounting for a rate of 4.6/1,000, were noted to have findings consistent with RHD. Females and older children were more frequently affected. Only 2 of the 15 students were aware of their disease, and neither of them were on regular secondary prophylaxis. Our finding is consistent with the hospital-based reports that showed RHD to be a common disorder in clinical practice. At the same time, the lack of awareness about their disease noted among the cases is worrisome and deserves serious attention.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Developing Countries*
  • Ethiopia / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / epidemiology
  • Heart Valve Diseases / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Rheumatic Heart Disease / epidemiology*
  • Rural Population*