INTRODUCTION: Rheumatic heart disease is among the leading causes of acquired valvular heart disease in the developing world. However, there is no data available for rheumatic heart disease in the paediatric population of Sabah. This study collected data for acute rheumatic fever admissions among the paediatric population in Sabah over a period of 3 years.
METHODS: This is a retrospective cohort study. All records for admissions to paediatric wards in Sabah for acute rheumatic fever from January 2016 to December 2018 were collected. The patient records were then traced and required information were collected.
RESULTS: A total of 52 cases of acute rheumatic fever were admitted. It was observed that the incidence of acute rheumatic fever was 74.4 per 100,000 paediatric admissions. Patients from the West Coast Division made up most of the admissions (n = 24, 46.2%). Male patients (n = 35, 67.3%) of the indigenous Kadazan-Dusun ethnicity (n = 21, 40.4%) were most commonly encountered. The mean age at time of presentation was 9.58 years. Most cases admitted (n = 38, 73.1%) were categorised as Priority 1 (severe rheumatic heart disease).
CONCLUSION: Most patients who were admitted had symptoms of heart failure and were diagnosed with severe rheumatic heart disease. Although this disease is preventable, the incidence in Sabah remains high. This study was limited as we only looked at patients who were admitted and we foresee the real incidence to be higher. Hence, there is an urgent need for a rheumatic heart disease registry in Malaysia to gather more data for prevention and early intervention.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.