Case Ascertainment on Australian Registers for Acute Rheumatic Fever and Rheumatic Heart Disease

Treasure Agenson, Judith Katzenellenbogen, Rebecca Seth, Karen Dempsey, Mellise Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


In Australia, disease registers for acute rheumatic fever (ARF) and rheumatic heart disease (RHD) were previously established to facilitate disease surveillance and control, yet little is known about the extent of case-ascertainment. We compared ARF/RHD case ascertainment based on Australian ARF/RHD register records with administrative hospital data from the Northern Territory (NT), South Australia (SA), Queensland (QLD) andWestern Australia (WA) for cases 3–59 years of age. Agreement across data sources was compared for persons with an ARF episode or first-ever RHD diagnosis. ARF/RHD registers from the dierent jurisdictions were missing 26% of Indigenous hospitalised ARF/RHD cases overall (ranging 17–40% by jurisdiction) and 10% of non-Indigenous hospitalised ARF/RHD cases (3–28%). The proportion of hospitalised RHD cases (36%) was half the proportion of hospitalised ARF cases (70%) notified to the ARF/RHD registers. The registers were found to capture few RHD cases in metropolitan areas (SA Metro: 13%, QLD Metro: 35%, WA Metro: 14%). Indigenous status, older age, comorbidities, drug/alcohol abuse and disease severity were predictors of cases appearing in the hospital data only (p < 0.05); sex was not a determinant. This analysis confirms that there are biases associated with the epidemiological analysis of single sources of case ascertainment for ARF/RHD using Australian data.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5505
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020


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