Prevalence of rheumatic heart disease among school children in Alexandria, Egypt: a prospective epidemiological study

J Egypt Public Health Assoc. 1998;73(3-4):233-54.


The aim of this work was to study the epidemiologic features of Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) among basic education students in Alexandria, including the demographic and clinical profiles as well as risk factors for RHD development. A stratified random sampling technique was used to allocate 5465 school children in the six educational zones of Alexandria. Clinical RHD cases were confirmed by using chest X-ray, ECG and echocardiography. Factors related to occurrence of RHD were studied using a case control design. Thirty four RHD cases (with an estimated prevalence of 6.2/1000 students) were diagnosed. Low socioeconomic status, chronic tonsillitis, positive family history of acute rheumatic fever/RHD and paternal consanguinity were significantly associated with the occurrence of RHD. Almost all previously diagnosed cases were enrolled in a prophylaxis program, with a defaulter rate of 31%. More than half of the identified cases had moderately severe valvular lesions. We recommend the implementation of an educational program targeted to both parents and teachers; the training of upgrading of school health physicians, and the standardization of secondary prophylaxis programs nationwide, with emphasis on assurance of compliance.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Echocardiography
  • Egypt
  • Female
  • Heart Valve Diseases / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rheumatic Heart Disease / epidemiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • X-Rays