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RHD in Pregnancy (AMOSS)

Project Description

Rheumatic heart disease (RHD) is a major health problem in Aboriginal communities. Acute Rheumatic Fever (ARF) is an autoimmune reaction to group A streptococcal (GAS) infection mostly affecting children 6-14 years of age. Recurrent episodes of ARF lead to cumulative heart valve damage and the development of RHD. RHD is a chronic, sometimes fatal, disease that often requires heart valve surgery. ARF and RHD are particularly prevalent in remote Aboriginal communities in Australia's Northern Territory who have one of the highest rates of ARF in the World and RHD affects approximately 25 Aboriginal people in every 1,000. RHD especially affects adolescents and young adults with approximately 45% of Indigenous people requiring heart valve surgery in Australia being less than 25 years old.

The mixed methods research includes a quantitative study with nearly 300 maternity units across ANZ and a qualitative study exploring women's journey with RHD. It aims to provide an evidence base with a view to improving clinical care and outcomes for women with RHD in pregnancy and their babies. It will investigate the largest population based group of pregnant women with RHD ever systematically studied globally and outline patterns of health risk, diagnosis, course, management and pregnancy outcomes.

The study will enable benchmarking to identify key attributes of successful, culturally safe models of health care for women with RHD in pregnancy, based on working with those who experience RHD and its impact. It will inform approaches to RHD in pregnancy in ANZ and internationally with other RHD stakeholders in the Pacific region, and have direct benefit to over 1500 disproportionately Indigenous women with RHD likely to give birth in ANZ over the next ten years.

More information

Australasian Maternity Outcomes Surveillance System (AMOSS) 


Geraldine Vaughan, National Coordinator

T: 02 9382 1564 E: 

Faith Mahony,

New Zealand Research Coordinator


Kylie Tune, Northern Territory Coordinator


Chief Investigators: Elizabeth Sullivan, Jonathan Carapetis, Warren Walsh, Michael Peek, Marie Claire McLintock, Sue Kruske

Funder: National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)

Dates: 2012 – 2016

      RHD Australia

RHDAustralia is based at Menzies School of Health Research.

The information contained in this website is not intended to be used as personal medical advice. Individuals with rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease should be under the care of a medical practitioner or other qualified health care professional.

RHDAustralia is not able to consult on individual health matters or provide funding for treatment or medical procedures.