• Richard Milne Richard Milne
  • Diana Lennon Diana Lennon
  • Joanna Stewart Joanna Stewart
  • Stephen Vander Hoorn Stephen Vander Hoorn
  • Paul Scuffham Paul Scuffham

Aims: To estimate the annual mortality and the cost of hospital admissions for acute rheumatic fever (ARF) and rheumatic heart disease (RHD) for New Zealand residents. Methods: Hospital admissions in 2000-2009 with a principal diagnosis of ARF or RHD (ICD9_AM 390-398; ICD10-AM I00-I099) and deaths in 2000-2007 with RHD as the underlying cause were obtained from routine statistics. The cost of each admission was estimated by multiplying its diagnosis-related group (DRG) cost weight by the tiol price for fincial year 2009/2010. Results: There were on average 159 RHD deaths each year with a mean annual mortality rate of 4.4 per 100 000 (95% confidence limit 4.2, 4.7). Age-adjusted mortality was five- to 10-fold higher for Maori and Pacific peoples than for non-Maori/Pacific. The mean age at RHD death (male/female) was 56.4/58.4 for Maori, 50.9/59.8 for Pacific and 78.2/80.6 for non-Maori, non-Pacific men and women.The average annual DRG-based cost of hospital admissions in 2000-2009 for ARF and RHD across all age groupswas $12.0 million (95% confidence limit $11.1 million, $12.8 million). Heart valve surgery accounted for 28% of admissions and 71% of the cost. For children 5-14 years of age, valve surgery accounted for 7% of admissions and 27% of the cost. Two-thirds of the cost occurs after the age of 30. Conclusions: ARF and RHD comprise a burden of mortality and hospital cost concentrated largely in middle age. Maori and Pacific RHD mortality rates are substantially higher than those of non-Maori/Pacific.