Raising awareness for rheumatic mitral valve disease

Glob Cardiol Sci Pract. 2020 Nov 30;2020(2):e202026. doi: 10.21542/gcsp.2020.26.


Rheumatic heart disease (RHD) is a major burden in low- to mid-income countries, where each year it accounts for over a million premature deaths associated with severe valve disease. Life-saving valve replacement procedures are not available to the majority of affected RHD patients, contributing to an increased risk of death in young adults and creating a devastating impact. In December 2017, a group of representatives of major cardiothoracic societies and industry, discussed the plight of the millions of patients who suffer from RHD. A comprehensive solution based on this global partnership was outlined in "The Cape Town Declaration on Access to Cardiac Surgery in the Developing World". The key challenge in controlling RHD is related to identification and removal of barriers to the translation of existing knowledge into policy, programs, and practice to provide high-quality care for patients with RHD. This review provides an overview on RHD by emphasizing the disease medical and economic burdens worldwide, risk factors, recent advance for early disease detection, and overall preventive strategies.