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Dr Rosemary Wyber, 2023 Postdoctoral Fellowship (Honorary)

Improving shared communication about the stage and severity of rheumatic heart disease

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Improving shared communication about the stage and severity of rheumatic heart disease

Dr Rosemary Wyber, The Australian National University

2023 Postdoctoral Fellowship (Honorary)

Years funded: 2024 - 2026

First Nations people in Australia bear the overwhelming burden of rheumatic heart disease (RHD). Caused by an abnormal immune response to bacterial Strep A infection, RHD leads to chronic heart valve damage, heart failure, stroke and premature mortality.

Australia currently uses a ‘priority’ system to describe the severity and stage of RHD and guide clinical follow up. The priority categories began in 2001 and have never been reviewed or updated. They are based on a mix of clinical characteristics, treatment status and demographics. Clinical utility of the priority categories is limited and has little meaning for people living with RHD. The implication of being ‘low priority’ is clearly dismissive and inappropriate.

I plan to develop a new staging system for RHD which articulates with changing global guidelines and prioritises the key information that consumers, clinicians, researchers and service planners wish to include. I will consult on this new system and pilot its implementation with a view to global scale up.

Last updated12 March 2024