Pulmonary hypertension in low- and middle-income countries with focus on sub-Saharan Africa

Anastase Dzudie, Bonaventure Suiru Dzekem, Dike B. Ojji, Andre Pascal Kengne, Ana Olga Mocumbi, Karen Sliwa, Friedrich Thienemann


Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a devastating, progressive disease with increasingly debilitating symptoms and usually shortened overall life expectancy. This article reviews the global epidemiology of PH with focus on low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) and sub-Sahara African in particular. Although left ventricular heart disease is the most common cause globally, the main contributing risk factors in LMICs are chronic infectious diseases especially human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and schistosomiasis. Other important risk factors of PH are rheumatic heart disease, untreated congenital heart disease (CHD), and sickle cell disease. Despite existing epidemiological data of PH risk factors suggesting a high prevalence in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), the available literature is limited. International registries in LMICs like the pan African pulmonary hypertension cohort (PAPUCO) study are essential to provide information about the causes, treatment, outcome, and the natural course of PH in Africa and other parts of the world. In addition, there is a need to track diagnostic and management practices in order to develop suitable algorithms to diagnose PH in LMICs.