12 June 2012
New research has highlighted the benefits that echocardiogram screenings can have when it comes to detecting rheumatic heart disease (RMD).
According to the study, which was carried out by cardiologists from the Children's National Medical Center, such a routine has been successful in detecting three times as many cases of the condition than clinical examinations can achieve.
The research, findings of which have been published in the journal Circulation, involved 5,000 school-aged children in Uganda being studied.
Of the participants, 130 of them had already had abnormal echocardiograms, but further evaluation revealed that 72 children were deemed to have RMD.
In comparison, only 23 children met the diagnosis criteria for clinical evaluation, which meant there was a 400 per cent increase in identification using an echocardiogram.
"What we found is that there were many children who had clinically silent RHD, which would have gone undetected without an echocardiogram," the study's lead author, Andrea Beaton, highlighted.
RMD is a condition which affects the valves of the heart, with common symptoms including chest pain, tiredness, a shortness of breath and dizziness.
Posted by Jeanette Royston
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