Echocardiographic Screening of Rheumatic Heart Disease in American Samoa

Jennifer H. Huang, Michael Favazza, Arthur Legg, Kathryn W. Holmes, Laurie Armsby, Ipuniuesea Eliapo-Unutoa, Thomas Pilgrim, Erin J. Madriago

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


While rheumatic heart disease (RHD) is a treatable disease nearly eradicated in the United States, it remains the most common form of acquired heart disease in the developing world. This study used echocardiographic screening to determine the prevalence of RHD in children in American Samoa. Screening took place at a subset of local schools. Private schools were recruited and public schools underwent cluster randomization based on population density. We collected survey information and performed a limited physical examination and echocardiogram using the World Heart Federation protocol for consented school children aged 5–18 years old. Of 2200 students from two private high schools and two public primary schools, 1058 subjects consented and were screened. Overall, 133 (12.9%) children were identified as having either definite (3.5%) or borderline (9.4%) RHD. Of the patients with definitive RHD, 28 subjects had abnormal mitral valves with pathologic regurgitation, three mitral stenosis, three abnormal aortic valves with pathologic regurgitation, and seven borderline mitral and aortic valve disease. Of the subjects with borderline disease, 77 had pathologic mitral regurgitation, 12 pathologic aortic regurgitation, and 7 at least two features of mitral valve disease without pathologic regurgitation or stenosis. Rheumatic heart disease remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. The prevalence of RHD in American Samoa (12.9%) is to date the highest reported in the world literature. Echocardiographic screening of school children is feasible, while reliance on murmur and Jones criteria is not helpful in identifying children with RHD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-44
Number of pages7
JournalPediatric Cardiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Echocardiography
  • Global health
  • Pediatric cardiology
  • Rheumatic heart disease
  • Streptococcus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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