Can we be optimistic?
An 8-year-old Aboriginal girl presents with shortness of breath and severe mitral regurgitation, and requires urgent surgery; a young Torres Strait Islander mother has a disabling stroke related to mitral stenosis; and a middle-aged Aboriginal community leader dies from infective endocarditis associated with a mechanical valve. These are the realities of acute rheumatic fever (ARF) and rheumatic heart disease (RHD) in Australia.
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