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Rheumatic Heart Disease Australia

What is Acute Rheumatic Fever?

There is currently no single test to diagnose Acute Rheumatic Fever. Diagnosis is a doctor’s decision based on the identification of a number of known symptoms.

What is Rheumatic Heart Disease?

Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) is chronic damage to the valves in the heart caused by repeated cases of Acute Rheumatic Fever (ARF). This can be prevented.

How is it Prevented?

The prevention of RHD can be implemented at a number of different stages. This includes Primordial, Primary, Secondary and Tertiary prevention.

How is it Diagnosed & Treated?

The prevention of RHD can be implemented at a number of different stages. This includes Primordial, Primary, Secondary and Tertiary prevention.

For Individuals & Families


Wash hands and face regularly

Washing your hands and face will reduce the spread of harmful bacteria which can lead to RHD.


Get regular check-ups

Stay up to date with check-ups at your local health clinic and with the dentist.


Keep fit and active

Being overweight and inactive can cause further stress on the heart so it is good to keep fit and exercise.


Don’t miss your injections

If you have had rheumatic fever you must have regular penicillin injections to prevent rheumatic heart disease.


Eat a healthy diet

A healthy diet helps your body stay healthy and fight off germs.

Symptoms to look out for

Sore throat

Sore throat can lead to acute rheumatic fever

Subcutaneous nodules

Round, firm and painless lumps around joints

Skin sores

Skin sores can let the strep germ into the body

Sore or swollen joints

Including knees, ankles, elbows and wrists

Mary's Story

My name is Aunty Mary.  My nephew Michael is 10 years old.  Last year he got sick with rheumatic heart disease.  I want to tell you a story about rheumatic heart disease, and how this has affected my family. I want everybody to know my family’s story, so we can stop our kids getting sick hearts, and stop rheumatic heart disease in our people... Read on

Cherie McAdams Story

Today, Cherie McAdams is a ‘matters of the heart’ advocate, raising awareness at every opportunity by sharing her story. She speaks to RHDAustralia about keeping resilient when your children have issues with their heart, but in particular with regards to ARF and RHD. “A mother shares the heartbeat of her child so when something is wrong she knows it”...Read on

What if I'm pregnant?

Rheumatic heart disease is up to twice as common in women, and this is women of child bearing years. There is a 30-50% increased cardiac workload in normal pregnancy..... Read On

For Health Professionals & Researchers

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Guidelines & Diagnosis Calculator

ARF RHD Guideline

E-learning & Discussion Forum


The END RHD CRE is the first time that any country has had an opportunity to build a comprehensive, evidence based strategy for ending rheumatic...


The Global Atlas of Rheumatic Heart Disease provides a new way to view the global distribution of RHD burden & as well as programs and...

Burden of the Disease

Acute rheumatic fever remains the most common cause of acquired heart disease in children around the world . Rates of acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities of Northern and Central Australia are some of the highest in the world this many more words will make it even...Read on

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RHD Control Programs

A coordinated control program is the most effective approach in improving adherence to secondary prophylaxis of ARF...Read on

Tiwi Grand Final

Latest News

Latest news from the RHD Secondary Prophylaxis Study

Welcome to the sixth newsletter from the Improving Secondary Prophylaxis (SP) for Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) research project. In this... Read on

Latest News

Launch of “Heart on Your Sleeve” Social Media Campaign

The “Heart on Your Sleeve” (HOYS) campaign, launched at the end of February is now underway with a flurry of activity in the social media... Read on


Latest News

Queensland RHD Symposium and Education Workshop 2016

Thank you to attendees, speakers and special guests who made the series of events held in Brisbane on the 22nd and 23rd March 2016 - the... Read on


Latest News

Data shows preventable RHD impacting on hospital systems

A recent report by the National Health Performance Authority shows the average length of stay for rheumatic heart disease hospitalisations... Read on

Latest News

Secondary Prophylaxis reminder apps – now in trial phase

Two new apps to encourage and remind people on secondary prophylaxis to get their injections are now in trial phase. The RHDAustralia... Read on

Data Collection System

The data collection system is a central repository for the collection and reporting of Acute Rheumatic Fever (ARF) and Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) data...