Rheumatic heart disease remains an important preventable cause of cardiovascular death and disability, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. We estimated global, regional, and national trends in rheumatic heart disease mortality and prevalence as part of the Global Burden of Disease 2015 Study.
We systematically reviewed data on fatal and non-fatal rheumatic heart disease from 1990-2015. Two Global Burden of Disease analytic tools, the Cause of Death Ensemble model and DisMod-MR 2.1, were used to produce estimates of mortality rates and prevalence including estimates of uncertainty.
There were an estimated 319,400 (95% uncertainty interval 297,300 to 337,300) deaths due to rheumatic heart disease in 2015. The global age-standardized death rate due to rheumatic heart disease decreased by 47.8% (95% uncertainty interval 44.7% to 50.9%) from 1990 to 2015, but large differences were observed across regions. In 2015, the highest age-standardized rheumatic heart disease death and prevalence rates were observed in Oceania, South Asia, and Central Sub-Saharan Africa. In 2015, there were an estimated 33.4 million (95% uncertainty interval 29.7 million to 43.1 million) cases of rheumatic heart disease globally and an estimated 10.5 million (95% uncertainty interval 9.6 million to 11.5 million) disability-adjusted life-years due to rheumatic heart disease.
We estimated global disease prevalence and mortality due to rheumatic heart disease over a 25-year period. The health-related burden of rheumatic heart disease has declined worldwide, but high rates of disease persist in some of the world’s poorest regions.