RHD control program and register in NSW

Data analysed for this report were provided directly to AIHW from the New South Wales (NSW) Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) Register. This register is funded by NSW Health. ARF and RHD became notifiable in NSW in October 2015, and the Register was established in May 2016, and captures patients notified with ARF and RHD where the individual provides consent to be incorporated into the Register. Whilst RHD is only notifiable in persons under the age of 35 years, people older than 35 years may be included on the Register if is it is felt worthwhile by their health practitioner.

Due to the short duration of the NSW Register’s existence, data on ARF and RHD notifications have been provided for 1 October 2015 to 31 December 2017. Data for secondary prophylaxis was provided for 2017. Data have not been analysed by year of diagnosis. Rates have been averaged for the period 1 October 2015 to 31 December 2017. Data for 2015 were annualised. The rates for NSW are not comparable to the data provided by Qld, WA, SA and the NT, in the previous sections. 


Between October 2015 and December 2017, there were 43 reported ARF diagnoses in NSW. Nineteen (44%) ARF diagnoses were reported among Indigenous residents, 18 of which were classified as definite or probable episodes. Fourteen (33%) ARF diagnoses were in Pacific Islander people and 1 diagnosis in a person who was both Indigenous and from another high risk group. ARF rates were greater in females than males, and in the 5–14 year olds compared to other age groups. Less than 5 episodes were reported as recurrent ARF.


There are 44 known residents of NSW living with RHD and who were diagnosed at less than 35 years of age, as at December 2017. Of these, 13 (30%) identified as Indigenous Australians, 19 (43%) identified as Pacific Islanders, and 1 person identified as both Indigenous and from another high risk group. Among the Indigenous Australians, 10 were female and 8 were aged 5–14 years.

Secondary prophylaxis in NSW

In NSW, secondary prophylaxis adherence has been calculated for all patients on the NSW Register who were prescribed BPG during 2017. Adherence was calculated as a proportion of the scheduled 13 doses for patients on a 28-day BPG regime, and 17 doses for patients on a 21-day regime. Patients who commenced part-way through the year have been included with an adjusted expected number of doses. Patients who should have been on BPG but did not receive a dose in 2017 are also included in the data. 

There were 26 people in NSW prescribed secondary prophylaxis during 2017. Of these, 9 received 100% or more of their prescribed doses and a further 3 received 80% to 99% of their prescribed doses. Fifteen people on treatment were Indigenous Australians.