The global burden of rheumatic heart disease continues to be significant although it is largely limited to poor and marginalized populations. In most endemic regions, affected patients present with heart failure. This statement will seek to examine the current state-of-the-art recommendations and to identify gaps in diagnosis and treatment globally that can inform strategies for reducing disease burden. Echocardiography screening based on World Heart Federation echocardiographic criteria holds promise to identify patients earlier, when prophylaxis is more likely to be effective; however, several important questions need to be answered before this can translate into public policy. Population-based registries effectively enable optimal care and secondary penicillin prophylaxis within available resources. Benzathine penicillin injections remain the cornerstone of secondary prevention. Challenges with penicillin procurement and concern with adverse reactions in patients with advanced disease remain important issues. Heart failure management, prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of endocarditis, oral anticoagulation for atrial fibrillation, and prosthetic valves are vital therapeutic adjuncts. Management of health of women with unoperated and operated rheumatic heart disease before, during, and after pregnancy is a significant challenge that requires a multidisciplinary team effort.


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