Atrial Fibrillation in Africa-An Underreported and Unrecognized Risk Factor for Stroke: A Systematic Review

Maartje S Jacobs, Marinus van Hulst, Abiodun M Adeoye, Robert G Tieleman, Maarten J Postma, Mayowa O Owolabi

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Over three-quarters of deaths from cardiovascular disease and diabetes occur in low- and middle-income countries, which include many African countries. Global studies showed that the prevalence of the cardiac arrhythmia atrial fibrillation (AF) appeared to be lower in Africa. A systematic search of PubMed and African Journals Online was conducted to determine the prevalence of AF and associated stroke risk factors in Africa and to quantify the need for screening. The publications search yielded a total of 840 articles of which 41 were included. AF was often not identified as the disease of primary interest with its own risks. Data on prevalence in the general population was scarce. The prevalence of stroke risk factors showed a large variation between studies, as well as within clustered subpopulations. AF in Africa is under-reported in published reports. The study types and populations are highly heterogeneous, making it difficult to draw a definitive conclusion on AF prevalence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-279
JournalGlobal heart
Issue number3
Early online date15-May-2019
Publication statusPublished - Sep-2019

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