Rarity of Heart Failure in a Traditional African Population. A Rural Community Based Study

Basil Nwaneri Okeahialam, Hadiza Abigail Agbo, Chikaike Ogbonna, Evelyn Chuhwak, Ikechukwu Isiguzoro


BACKGROUND: Heart failure (HF) is common globally and increases with age. Among Caucasians it affects mainly the elderly, but the middle-aged in Africa. Statistics are usually hospital based, missing those in the population unable to present in hospital for various reasons. Population statistics of HF for sub-Saharan Africa are hardly available. This was to assess the population prevalence of HF in a rural sub-Sahara African community and get a truer picture of HF morbidity.

METHODS: Secondary analysis of data from a population study of cardiovascular disease risk factors in rural Nigeria; on self-reported HF as part of general history, physical examination and related laboratory investigations

 RESULTS: Of the 840 subjects, 231 were men; 8 (0.95%) of whom were in HF (2M, 6F); and aged between 50 to 90 years. All the men were above 65 years while 2 of the women were less than 65 years. Four were hypertensive, 3 had hypertension and diabetes; while 1 the oldest had neither. They all denied tobacco and alcohol use. Most of the affected women were multiparous.

CONCLUSION: HF is infrequent in rural Nigeria with a prevalence of 0.95%. Hypertension was a prominent risk factor, with co-morbid diabetes. The absence of tobacco /alcohol history, anaemia and low rate of kidney disease confirms that a constellation of risk factors is required for HF among hypertensives. The earlier presentation and greater involvement of women (in the background of multiparity) supports the notion that repeated pregnancy and child-birth place higher disease burden of hearts of women.




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