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  • Publication
    Journal Article
    Echocardiographic Screening for Rheumatic Heart Disease: A Brief History and Implications for the Future.
    (2024-04-24T14:00:00Z) ; ; ; ;
    Whalley, Gillian
    Transthoracic echocardiography is the gold standard for early detection of rheumatic heart disease (RHD) in asymptomatic children living in high-risk regions. Advances in technology allowing miniaturisation and increased portability of echocardiography devices have improved the accessibility of this vital diagnostic tool in RHD-endemic locations. Automation of image optimisation techniques and simplified RHD screening protocols permit use by non-experts after a brief period of training. While these changes are welcome advances in the battle to manage RHD, it is important that the sensitivity and specificity of RHD detection be maintained by all echocardiography users on any device to ensure accurate and timely diagnosis of RHD to facilitate initiation of appropriate therapy. This review of the evolution of echocardiography and its use in the detection of rheumatic valve disease may serve as a reminder of the key strengths and potential pitfalls of this increasingly relied-upon diagnostic test.