Heart failure in sub-Saharan Africans is mainly due to non-ischaemic causes, such as hypertension, rheumatic heart disease, cardiomyopathy and pericarditis. The two endemic diseases that are major contributors to the clinical syndrome of heart failure in Africa are cardiomyopathy and pericarditis. The major forms of endemic cardiomyopathy are idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy, peripartum cardiomyopathy and endomyocardial fibrosis. Endomyocardial fibrosis, which affects children, has the worst prognosis. Other cardiomyopathies have similar epidemiological characteristics to those of other populations in the world. HIV infection is associated with occurrence of HIV-associated cardiomyopathy in patients with advanced immunosuppression, and the rise in the incidence of tuberculous pericarditis. HIV-associated tuberculous pericarditis is characterised by larger pericardial effusion, a greater frequency of myopericarditis, and a higher mortality than in people without AIDS. Population-based studies on the epidemiology of heart failure, cardiomyopathy and pericarditis in Africans, and studies of new interventions to reduce mortality, particularly in endomyocardial fibrosis and tuberculous pericarditis, are needed.
- sub-Saharan Africa
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