PRIVATE practitioners in Labasa have been urged to make it their business to check the heartbeats of their patients, especially children, during clinics.
At a recent mini-seminar for northern practitioners, Labasa Hospital's pediatrics registrar Doctor Maryanne Korai said the checking of heartbeats was important because it was also a way of identifying the health status of a person.
"Every patient that visits you for check-ups, always make an effort to check his or her heartbeat because this also helps," she told the practitioners.
"When you detect something wrong, refer the patient to relevant health experts for necessary actions."
In defining rheumatic heart disease, Dr Korai said it was chronic changes of the valves of the heart following acute rheumatic fever.
"It can be mild, moderate or severe and can be life-threatening. Acute rheumatic fever (ARF) is caused by an immunological reaction to a throat infection with group A streptococcus gas.
"Accurate diagnosis of acute rheumatic fever is important and as part of the clinic stages, diagnosis remains a clinic decision."