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You are here: Contents > 2016 > Volume 25 Number 5 September 2016 > RHEUMATIC HEART DISEASE > Rheumatic Fever and Rheumatic Heart Disease: Collaboration Patterns and Research Core Topics

Rheumatic Fever and Rheumatic Heart Disease: Collaboration Patterns and Research Core Topics

Alejandro Salinas1,5, Gregorio González2, Jose Manuel Ramos3,4

1Servicio de Medicina Interna, Hospital de Denia, Alicante, Spain
2Departamento de Historia de la Ciencia y Documentación, Universidad de Valencia, Facultad de Medicina y Odontología, Valencia, Spain
3Servicio de Medicina Interna, Hospital General Universitario de Alicante, Alicante, Spain
4Departmento de Medicina, Universidad Miguel Hernández de Elche, Alicante, Spain
5Electronic correspondence:

Background and aim of the study: Rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease (RHD) are important health problems in developing countries. The study aim was to provide a review and content analysis of the scientific literature on rheumatic fever and RHD over a 70-year period.

Methods: Medline was employed via the online PubMed service of the US National Library of Medicine, to search for all documents containing the MeSH terms ‘rheumatic fever’ or ‘rheumatic heart disease’ between January 1945 and December 2013.

Results: A total of 18,552 references was retrieved. Between 1945 and 1970 the number of annual publications containing the search terms increased, but decreased between 1971 and 2013. Between 1990 and 2013, national collaboration (co-authorship) was greatly increased, from 8.7% to 41.7% of the total reports. International collaboration also increased, from 2.5% to

14.8% (p = 0.001). The United States was the main collaborating country, sharing ties mainly with India, South Africa and Brazil. A content analysis led to the identification of three prominent core research topics, chief among which were heart diseases (rheumatic fever diseases, mitral valve diseases and endocarditis). Other areas of note included streptococcal infections and rheumatic diseases (which, in addition to rheumatic fever, also highlighted arthritis and juvenile arthritis).

Conclusion: Publications on rheumatic fever and RHD had a major impact during the 1960s, but research groups interest has since declined overall, in line with a decreasing interest in these diseases in developed countries. In contrast, national and international collaboration has increased, a phenomenon that should be encouraged for research into these and other diseases that affect developing countries.

The Journal of Heart Valve Disease 2016;25:619-627

Rheumatic Fever and Rheumatic Heart Disease: Collaboration Patterns and Research Core Topics

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