An overview of heart failure in low- and middle-income countries

Valirie N. Agbor, Ntobeko A. B. Ntusi, Jean Jacques Noubiap


Heart failure (HF) is a global public health concern with disproportionate socioeconomic, morbidity and mortality burden on low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). This review summarises contemporary data on the demographic and clinical characteristics, aetiologies, treatment, economic burden and outcomes of HF in LMICs. Patients with HF in LMICs are younger than those from high-income countries (HICs) and present at advanced stages of the disease. Hypertension, ischaemic heart disease (IHD), cardiomyopathy (CMO), and rheumatic heart disease (RHD) are the leading causes of HF in LMICs. The contribution of infectious diseases to HF remains prominent in many LMICs. Most health facilities in LMICs lack adequate diagnostic tools for HF, and the use of evidence-based medical and device therapies is suboptimal. Further, HF in LMICs is associated with prolonged hospital stay and high in-hospital and one-year mortality. Finally, HF has profound economic impact on individual patients who, mostly, have no health insurance, and on societies where patients are young, comprising those who have the greatest potential to contribute to economic productivity.