This is the fifth annual report from the National Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) data collection. It presents information on acute rheumatic fever (ARF) and RHD in Australia drawn from the established jurisdictional registers in New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory, from 2017–2021. Throughout this report, some data from New South Wales are incorporated with figures from other jurisdictions and some remain separate, depending on comparability between jurisdictions. In this report, the terms ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’ and ‘Indigenous Australians’ are used interchangeably.
What is new to this report:
- All statistical information for previous years has been updated in this report. Changes between years are presented in the trend analysis in each section of the report. Data in the collection are updated over time as the jurisdictional programs undertake data cleaning and quality improvement activity, so numbers in this report may not match those in previous reports. Comparisons to the results in previous versions of the report is discouraged.
- COVID-19 impacted both the health sector and the utilisation of health services in 2020 and 2021. This could have affected results such as diagnosis rates, BPG delivery and the number of surgeries undertaken. Further information on how the pandemic affected ARF and RHD specifically is not available.
- Trend figures now show a 95% confidence Interval for each year instead of a trendline. These have been used to determine whether changes over time are statically significant.
At 31 December 2021, there were 9,922 people living with a diagnosis of ARF and/or RHD recorded on the registers in New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory. Of these, 3,053 people (31%) had only ARF recorded, 3,237 people (33%) had only RHD recorded, and 3,632 people (37%) had both ARF and RHD recorded.