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Introduction: The epidemiology of pulmonary hypertension (PH) in low- to middle-income countries is poorly characterised. We assessed the prevalence, baseline characteristics and mortality rate in patients with echocardiographically diagnosed PH at a rural cardiac centre in Cameroon. Methods: We conducted a prospective cohort study in a subsample of 150 participants, aged 18 years and older, diagnosed with PH [defined as right ventricular systolic pressure (RVSP) ≥ 35 mmHg in the absence of pulmonary stenosis and right heart failure]. PH was classified as mild (RVSP: 35–50 mmHg), moderate (RVSP: 51–60 mmHg) and severe (RVSP: > 60 mmHg). Results: Of 2 194 patients screened via echocardiograms, 343 (crude prevalence 15.6%) had PH. The sub-sample of 150 patients followed up (54.7% women, mean age of 62.7 ± 18.7 years) had a mean RVSP of 68.6 mmHg. They included 7.3% mild, 29.3% moderate and 63.4% severe PH cases. Co-morbidities included log smoke (80.7%), hypertension (52.0%), family history of cardiovascular disease (50.0%), diabetes (31.3%), alcohol abuse (21.3%) and HIV infection (8.7%). Main clinical features were dyspnoea (78.7%), fatigue (76.7%), palpitations (57.3%), cough (56.7%), jugular venous distension (68%) and peripheral oedema (66.7%). Overall, 70% presented in World Health Organisation functional class III/IV. PH due to left heart disease (PHLHD) was the commonest (64.7%), and rheumatic valvular disease accounted for 36.1%. The six-month mortality rate was 28%. Conclusion: PH, dominated by PHLHD, was common among adults attending this rural centre and was associated with a high mortality rate. Related co-morbidities and late clinical presentation reflect the poor socio-economic context. Improved awareness of PH among physicians could promote early diagnosis and management.


Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research

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Open Access Journal Article

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.