This review is intended to provide an authoritative, up-to-date account of acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease among Indigenous people.
This review of acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease among Indigenous Australians has been prepared by the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet as a part of our contributions to ‘closing the gap’ in health between Indigenous people and other Australians by making relevant, high quality knowledge and information easily accessible to policy makers, health service providers, program managers, clinicians, researchers and the general community. The review is an example of the HealthInfoNet’s translational research, defined as ‘comprehensive applied research that strives to translate the available knowledge and render it operational’.
The main purpose of the review, which follows the model of narrative reviews/syntheses, is to provide an authoritative, up-to-date review of acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease among Indigenous people that: (1) is a valuable overview for people working in the area; and (2) assists in the development/refinement of policies, strategies and programs.
Research for the review involved the collection, collation, and analysis of a wide range of relevant information, including both published and unpublished material. Sources include the full range of relevant literature, including journal articles and other relevant publications, the vast majority of which are accessible via the HealthInfoNet’s Australian Indigenous HealthBibliography. This bibliography, with more than more 20,000 entries, captures all relevant journal articles, books, book chapters and reports (including the ‘grey’ literature).
As well as the relevant journal literature, the HealthInfoNet’s reviews draw on important government reports, particularly those produced by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) and the Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision (SCRGSP), and reports in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health performance framework series. These reports, prepared by the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council (AHMAC) in 2006, 2008, 2011 and 2012, are accompanied by substantial detailed analyses, which are accessible on the AIHW website. The HealthInfoNet’s reviews also draw on information from the main administrative data collections (such as the birth and death registration systems and the hospital inpatient collections) and national surveys. Information from these sources has been published mainly in government reports, particularly those produced by the ABS and the AIHW.
After providing the context of acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease, the body of the review outlines the extent of acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease among Indigenous people, provides an overview of the various contributing factors, considers prevention and management, summarises a number of relevant policies and strategies, and provides some brief concluding comments. Rather than commence with an executive summary, the review is preceded by a section devoted to ‘Key facts’, which presents the summarised information in a more concise form.