Evaluation of executive functions in children with rheumatic heart diseases

Aliyeva N., YOZGAT Y., BAKHSALIYEV N., Afshord T. Z., Yozgat C. Y., Kilicoglu A. G.

Pediatrics International, vol.64, no.1, 2022 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 64 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1111/ped.15035
  • Journal Name: Pediatrics International
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, CINAHL, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Veterinary Science Database
  • Keywords: acute rheumatic fever, executive functions, rheumatic heart diseases, Sydenham's chorea
  • Istanbul Medipol University Affiliated: Yes


Background: Acute rheumatic fever (ARF) is a multisystemic inflammatory disease in children and young adults. The most notable complications of ARF are rheumatic heart disease (RHD) and Sydenham's chorea (SC). There have been many reports about executive dysfunctions with children who have SC. “Executive function” is an umbrella term that is used to describe higher level cognitive functions. The aim of this study is to determine the executive functions of children with RHD. We evaluated executive functions in healthy children with the same sociodemographic characteristics as children with RHD. Methods: Our study was designed as a cross-sectional randomized study, including children with RHD aged between 12 and 18, and healthy controls. The difference between the patient and control group participants in terms of age, gender, education level, education level of the parents, family income level, and executive functions were investigated. Executive functions composed of Digit Sequence Test, Verbal Fluency Test, Trail-Making Test, Stroop Test, Wisconsin Card Sorting Test. Results: In our study, a total of 30 children with RHD were followed up at the pediatric cardiology outpatient clinic of Bezmialem Vakif University Hospital composed the patient group. The control group was made up of 30 healthy children of the same sex and age group as the patient group. The mean age of the case group was 14.73 ± 1.84 years. The Digit Span Test, Verbal Fluency Test, Trail-Making Test, Wisconsin Card Sorting Test, and Stroop Test produced no statistically significant differences between the RHD patients and the controls. Conclusions: No statistically significant difference was found between the RHD patients and control patients in any executive function test. It was suggested that executive dysfunction might not develop in RHD patients before developing SC.