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Atrial fibrillation among the black population in a Ugandan tertiary hospital

Authors Lugero C, Kibirige D, Kayima J, Kizza Mondo C, Freers J

Received 16 November 2015

Accepted for publication 11 February 2016

Published 8 June 2016 Volume 2016:9 Pages 191—198


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Charles Lugero,1,2 Davis Kibirige,3 James Kayima,1,2 Charles Kizza Mondo,2 Jurgen Freers,2

1Division of Adult Cardiology, Uganda Heart Institute, 2Department of Medicine, Makerere University College of Health Sciences, Kampala, 3Department of Medicine, Our Lady of Consolata Hospital, Kisubi, Uganda

Background: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common type of sustained cardiac arrhythmia in adults, accounting for one-third of hospitalizations due to arrhythmia and related complications worldwide. Previously, rheumatic heart disease was documented as the commonest cause of AF in sub-Saharan Africa. However, due to the prevailing epidemiological transition in sub-Saharan Africa, the risk factors and ensuing complications of AF have changed and are on the increase.
Methods: This was a descriptive cross-sectional study involving 102 patients presenting with AF who were recruited from the cardiology unit of Mulago National Referral Hospital, Uganda, over 3 months. Sociodemographic, medical history, and clinical data were obtained.
Results: The mean age of study participants was 52±21.3 years with a female predominance (58 [56.9%]). The commonest coexisting medical conditions were hypertension in 42% and rheumatic heart disease in 32% of the patients. The commonest echocardiographic abnormality was chamber dilation, noted in 76.8% of all patients. Heart failure was the most frequent complication encountered (50%) followed by left ventricular diastolic dysfunction and acute thromboembolic stroke documented in 19.6% and 12.8% of the study participants, respectively. Of the enrolled patients, ten (9.8%) died within 3 days of admission.
Conclusion: AF tends to occur at a younger age in Ugandan patients. The commonest underlying medical conditions among these patients were hypertension and rheumatic heart disease. Hence, all patients with hypertension and rheumatic heart disease should be meticulously screened for AF.

Keywords: atrial fibrillation, clinical profile, complications, Uganda

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