08 April 2019

The cost of inaction on rheumatic heart disease: The predicted human and financial costs of rheumatic heart disease for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 2016-2031

This report from the Telethon Kids Institute outlines the trajectory of acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease (RHD)  in Australia until 2031, assuming only the current levels of funding and attention to these diseases. It specifically details the cost of inaction for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who have some of the highest rates of RHD in the world. There are currently 4,539 people living with RHD, and with no further efforts to address RHD, a further 10,212 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are projected to develop the disease, or its precursor – acute rheumatic fever – by 2031. Of these people, 563 with RHD will die, 1,370 will need heart surgery and $317 million will be spent on medical care.