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Sept 28, 1963

Heart Murmurs in Youths of Military AgeEvidence of Inadequate Rheumatic Fever Prophylaxis

JAMA. 1963;185(13):1004-1007. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03060130022007

Comparison of statistics obtained on military selectees during 1941 and 1962 reveals a 63% decrease in the incidence of rheumatic valvular heart disease and a 37% decrease in the diagnosis of congenital heart disease. The decrease in rheumatic heart disease is attributed primarily to the prophylactic and therapeutic use of antibiotic and chemotherapeutic drugs. However, an important role in the decrease in the incidence of both must be assigned to the great strides made in the science of cardiac auscultation complemented by improved diagnostic techniques and their correlation with cardiac surgery. Functional, rheumatic, and congenital murmurs were found more frequently in the female group. Only 7% of patients with rheumatic heart disease were taking any type of prophylactic antibiotic, and only 12% were aware of the existence of valvular damage.