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The End Rheumatic Heart Disease in Australia Study of Epidemiology (ERASE) Project: data sources, case ascertainment and cohort profile

Authors Katzenellenbogen JM, Bond-Smith D, Seth RJ, Dempsey K, Cannon J, Nedkoff L, Sanfilippo FM, de Klerk N, Hung J, Geelhoed E, Williamson D, Wyber R, Ralph AP, Bessarab D

Received 25 July 2019

Accepted for publication 25 September 2019

Published 15 November 2019 Volume 2019:11 Pages 997—1010

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/CLEP.S224621

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Justinn Cochran

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Henrik Toft Sørensen


Judith M Katzenellenbogen,1,2,* Daniela Bond-Smith,1,* Rebecca J Seth,1 Karen Dempsey,3 Jeffrey Cannon,2 Lee Nedkoff,1 Frank M Sanfilippo,1 Nicholas de Klerk,1,2 Joe Hung,1 Elizabeth Geelhoed,4 Daniel Williamson,5 Rosemary Wyber,2,6,7 Anna P Ralph,3 Dawn Bessarab1 On behalf of the ERASE Collaboration Study Group

1School of Population and Global Health, The University of Western Australia, Perth, WA, Australia; 2Group A Streptococcus Research Group, Telethon Kids Institute, Perth, WA, Australia; 3Global and Tropical Health, Menzies School of Health Research, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT, Australia; 4School of Allied Health, The University of Western Australia, Perth, WA, Australia; 5Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Branch, Queensland Health, Brisbane, QLD, Australia; 6Office of the Chief Scientist, The George Institute for Global Health, Sydney, NSW, Australia; 7The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence: Judith M Katzenellenbogen
School of Population and Global Health, The University of Western Australia, M431 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, Perth, WA 6009, Australia
Tel +61 8 6488 1001
Fax +61 8 6488 1188
Email Judith.katzenellenbogen@uwa.edu.au

Purpose: Acute rheumatic fever (ARF) and rheumatic heart disease (RHD) persist as public health issues in developing countries and among disadvantaged communities in high-income countries, with rates in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia among the highest recorded globally. A robust evidence base is critical to support policy recommendations for eliminating RHD, but available data are fragmented and incomplete. The End RHD in Australia: Study of Epidemiology (ERASE) Project aims to provide a comprehensive database of ARF and RHD cases in Australia as a basis for improved monitoring and to assess prevention and treatment strategies. The objective of this paper is to describe the process for case ascertainment and profile of the study cohort.
Patients and methods: The ERASE database has been built using linked administrative data from RHD registers, inpatient hospitalizations, and death registry data from 2001 to 2017 (mid-year). Additional linked datasets are available. The longitudinal nature of the data is harnessed to estimate onset and assess the progression of the disease. To accommodate systematic limitations in diagnostic coding for RHD, hospital-only identified RHD has been determined using a purposefully developed prediction model.
Results: Of 132,053 patients for whom data were received, 42,064 are considered true cases of ARF or RHD in the study period. The patient population under 60 years in the compiled dataset is more than double the number of patients identified in ARF/RHD registers (12,907 versus 5049). Non-registered patients were more likely to be older, non-Indigenous, and at a later disease stage.
Conclusion: The ERASE Project has created an unprecedented linked administrative database on ARF and RHD in Australia. These data provide a critical baseline for efforts to end ARF/RHD in Australia. The methodological work conducted to compile this database resulted in significant improvements in the robustness of epidemiological estimates and entails valuable lessons for ARF/RHD research globally.

Keywords: rheumatic fever, rheumatic heart disease, indigenous, epidemiology, linked data

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