New RHD diagnoses in all Australians

In this report, a ‘new’ RHD diagnosis is defined as one that occurred between 1 January 2013 and 31 December 2017, and these will be the focus of the analysis in the next sections.  RHD can have mild, moderate or severe presentations and may initially be asymptomatic. In most cases, it is not possible to identify a year of onset for RHD. The analysis is based on year of diagnosis.

There were 1,261 reports of new RHD diagnoses in 2013–2017 (3 per 100,000). Australian annual diagnosis rates remained relatively steady at 2 diagnoses per 100,000 each year.  The combined rates for 2013–2017 was 2 per 100,00 for Queensland, 2 for WA, 1 for SA and 37 for NT.

In 2013–2017, just over 1,000 new RHD diagnoses (83% of all diagnoses) were made amongst Indigenous Australians. The rate remained steady over time, ranging from 48 to 52 per 100,000. Over the 5 years, the overall rate in Indigenous Australians was around 125 times that in non-Indigenous Australians (50 compared with 0.4 per 100,000).

Table 2: Number and rate per 100,000 of new RHD diagnoses by Indigenous status, 2013–2017

Year

Indigenous number

Indigenous rate

Non-Indigenous number

Non-Indigenous rate

2013

202

50.5

38

0.4

2014

214

52.3

46

0.5

2015

199

47.6

34

0.4

2016

204

47.8

46

0.5

2017

224

51.3

34

0.4

Total(a) 

1,043

49.9

198

0.4

a: Total does not include diagnoses with unknown Indigenous status

Note: Rates are crude rates per 100,000 population

Source: AIHW analysis of National Rheumatic Heart Disease data collection