Experts from the world’s major heart surgery organizations—including The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS), the American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS), the Asian Society for Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery (ASCVTS), and the European Association for Cardio-Thoracic Surgery (EACTS)—are calling for urgent action to develop and implement effective strategies for treating rheumatic heart disease (RHD), which affects 33 million people and kills 320,000 annually. The joint statement, known as the “Cape Town Declaration,” was published online today in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery and eight other journals.
“The global burden of mortality from what is essentially a treatable disease remains underrecognized by different factions of society, including many health care providers,” said AATS President David H. Adams, MD. “The Cape Town Declaration is a call to arms to work together to treat those currently suffering from RHD and hopefully to one day shift the focus to prevention through access to appropriate antibiotic treatments of streptococcal infections.”
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