Children’s National Health System to Launch Rheumatic Heart Disease Eradication Effort with $3.7 Million Grant from American Heart Association

“We are thrilled to receive this funding from the AHA, which will help us close the research gap for this neglected disease and change the plight of millions of children around the world,” said Dr. Craig Sable.

Children’s National Health System has been awarded a $3.7 million grant from the American Heart Association (AHA) to launch a Rheumatic Heart Disease Center, with the goal of developing innovative strategies and economic incentives to improve the prevention and diagnosis of rheumatic heart disease (RHD) in high-risk, financially disadvantaged countries and low-income communities across the United States.

Children’s National was selected as one of four centers in the AHA’s Strategically Focused Children’s Research Network, which is dedicated to improving children’s heart health and reducing the global burden of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Known as the ‘world’s forgotten disease,’ RHD is caused by untreated streptococcal throat infections that progress into acute rheumatic fever (ARF) and eventually weaken the valves of the heart. It is the most common cardiovascular disease in children and young adults globally – affecting nearly 33 million people and causing 345,000 deaths annually – yet, it is preventable with early detection and access to penicillin.

Over the next four years, the Rheumatic Heart Disease Center, led by Children’s National Heart Institute experts, Craig Sable, M.D., associate division chief of cardiology, and Andrea Beaton, M.D., cardiologist, along with RHD leaders around the globe, will develop evidence-based strategies to strengthen the health system’s response to RHD through synergistic basic, clinical and population science research along the entire spectrum of the disease….

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