Heart test can detect hidden damage
Screening people routinely with an echocardiogram test , according to new US research, can significantly increase the detection of permanent heart damage.
Rheumatic heart disease (RHD) causes permanent damage to the heart valves.
Researchers at Children's National Medical Centre in Washington found that an echocardiogram, more commonly known as an ECHO, can detect three times more cases of RHD than clinical examinations.
An ECHO is a technique used to scan the heart in slices by taking 2D images.
The study routinely screened almost 5,000 school-aged children in Uganda. Results found a 400% increase in RHD detection using this technique.
"What we found is that there were many children who had clinically silent RHD, which would have gone undetected without an echocardiogram," said lead researcher Dr Andrea Beaton of Children's National Medical Centre.
This study is published in the journal Circulation.
[Posted: Tue 12/06/2012]