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Epidemiology of pericardial diseases in Africa: a systematic scoping review


Objectives This scoping review sought to summarise available data on the prevalence, aetiology, diagnosis, treatment and outcome of pericardial disease in Africa.

Methods We searched PubMed, Scopus and African Journals Online from 1 January 1967 to 30 July 2017 to identify all studies published on the prevalence, aetiologies, diagnosis, treatment and outcomes of pericardial diseases in adults residing in Africa.

Results 36 studies were included. The prevalence of pericardial diseases varies widely according to the population of interest: about 1.1% among people with cardiac complaints, between 3.3% and 6.8% among two large cohorts of patients with heart failure and up to 46.5% in an HIV-infected population with cardiac symptoms. Tuberculosis is the most frequent cause of pericardial diseases in both HIV-uninfected and HIV-infected populations. Patients with tuberculous pericarditis present mostly with effusive pericarditis (79.5%), effusive constrictive pericarditis (15.1%) and myopericarditis (13%); a large proportion of them (up to 20%) present in cardiac tamponade. The aetiological diagnosis of pericardial diseases is challenging in African resource-limited settings, especially for tuberculous pericarditis for which the diagnosis is not definite in many cases. The outcome of these diseases remains poor, with mortality rates between 18% and 25% despite seemingly appropriate treatment approaches. Mortality is highest among patients with tuberculous pericarditis especially those coinfected with HIV.

Conclusion Pericardial diseases are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in Africa, especially in HIV-infected individuals. Tuberculosis is the most frequent cause of pericardial diseases, and it is associated with poor outcomes.

  • pericardial disease
  • pericarditis
  • cardiac tamponade
  • prevalence
  • aetiologies
  • treatment
  • outcome
  • Africa

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