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Ann Cardiol Angeiol (Paris). 2005 Sep;54(5):276-83.

[A new look at adult chronic heart failure in Africa in the age of the Doppler echocardiography: experience of the medicine department at Yaounde General Hospital].

[Article in French]

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Departement de cardiologie, service de médecine interne B (Service de référence des maladies cardiovasculaires), hôpital general de Yaoundé, Cameroun.



Heart failure is a frequent and severe condition in Africa, yet few African data are available that take into account modern advances like echocardiography in diagnosis. This study aimed to characterize the epidemiological, clinical, etiologic and therapeutic features of heart failure at Yaounde General Hospital.


A descriptive study was carried from October 1998 to November 2001. One hundred and sixty-seven patients presenting with clinical and echocardiographic signs of heart failure were included, among which 99 men and 68 women, mean aged 57 years.


Heart failure was the reason for 5,77% of all hospital admissions. Rehospitalisation rate was 8,33%, the prevalence 30% and overall mortality was 9,03%. 44% of patients were in class III of the NYHA and 7% in class IV. Dyspnoea was a constant symptom (95,20%); hepatomegaly was the most frequent physical finding (41,92%). Cardiac cavities were dilated and left ventricular ejection fraction was low in patients with systolic (70%) and combined (20%) dysfunction. Isolated diastolic heart failure accounted for 10% of cases. Main aetiologies were: Hypertension (54,49%), cardiomyopathies (26,34%) and valvular heart diseases (24,55%). Ischaemic heart disease was the fifth aetiology (2,39%). Medical treatment consisted of loop diuretics (90%), angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor (64,7%), digoxin (30,5%) and beta blockers (19,8%).


The clinical syndrome of heart failure constitutes a major public health problem in Cameroon. Echocardiography is of paramount importance in confirming the diagnosis and precising its aetiology. Preventive and public health strategies need to be defined according to the local characteristics.

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