Healthy Heart Initiative's Projects

Symptom-based screening of rheumatic heart disease in school-aged children and development of an effective tool for self-screening in the dhading district of nepal


Nepal is a middle income developing country in South East Asia with a population of 29.3 million. As per the Nepal Heart Foundation, the prevalence of Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) is around 2 per 1,000 children in the age group of 5-16 years. It is estimated that nearly 87,000 students are affected by this disease. RHD, if detected in early stages, can benefit from secondary prevention to reduce long term complication, related suffering, and premature death.

In resource limited countries like Nepal infrastructural and financial limitations are prohibitive in developing a national screening program. To develop an effective self-screening tool, Healthy Heart Initiative has launched a study on RHD in the Dhading district of Nepal with an objective of symptom-based screening of rheumatic heart disease in school children. This study has joint approval from Tufts University, Boston and the Ethics Committee of Nepal Health Research Council. We have surveyed 11 schools in this remote Himalayan district of Nepal and have recruited nearly 3,000 students. Based on the survey responses around 600 students will be offered an echocardiogram to look for evidence of RHD. Students with RHD will be advised secondary prophylaxis and long-term follow up to reduce long-term complications of the disease. 

Cardiovascular Health awareness in school children and the effect of an educational intervention on school-aged children in kolkata, India


As an urban counterpart of our previous study in rural India, Healthy Heart Initiative recently visited twenty-one schools in Kolkata and surveyed close to four-thousand students to assess the level of cardiovascular health awareness in ninth and tenth grade students. The team also had an educational presentation in each school with a goal to improve this level of awareness about cardiovascular disease and the various risk factors. Healthy Heart Initiative believes that through adoption of healthy lifestyle practices from early years of life  we can reduce suffering and premature death from cardiovascular disease which is now the number one killer in India. Our study may serve as the foundation to help establish a school-based health education for the nation which may alter the trajectory of the disease course in a favorable way.

Awareness of Rheumatic Heart Disease in School Children and Development of an Effective Tool for Self–Screening in Rural India

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In developing countries like India  2-3 students per thousand in the age group 10-16 years are affected by rheumatic heart disease (RHD). In a country with a population of 1.2 billion and, with 15% of the population in the age group 10-16 years, there are about half a million students with RHD. Many of them are not aware of their heart disease and have significant suffering and also sometimes premature death.

We  surveyed 9,000 students in the district of West Midnapore, India to promote their awareness about RHD and to develop a survey based screening tool to help in early diagnosis and thus encourage self-referral. This tool, we believe, will help reduce the burden of RHD in the world.

Cardiovascular health awareness and the effect of an educational intervention on school aged children in a rural district of india


India is the second most populous country in the world and two thirds of its population is less than 35 years old. This survey was conducted to assess the level of health awareness of cardiovascular disease in adolescent school-aged children 14-16 years old, with the goal of establishing school-based health education and development of heart healthy lifestyle practices.

Cardiovascular health awareness and the effect of an educational intervention on school aged children in Greater Boston

Photo by DenisTangneyJr/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by DenisTangneyJr/iStock / Getty Images