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Am Heart J. 2019 Jan 15;210:69-74. doi: 10.1016/j.ahj.2019.01.003. [Epub ahead of print]

Knowledge of myocardial infarction symptoms and perceptions of self-risk in Tanzania.

Author information

1
Division of Emergency Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, 2301 Erwin Rd, Durham, NC. Electronic address: julian.hertz@duke.edu.
2
Department of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, 2301 Erwin Rd, Durham, NC.
3
Department of Statistical Science, Duke University, PO Box 90251, Durham, NC.
4
Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre, PO Box 3010, Moshi, Tanzania.
5
Duke Global Health Institute, Duke University, 310 Trent Drive, Durham, NC.
6
Division of Emergency Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, 2301 Erwin Rd, Durham, NC.
7
Department of Emergency Medicine, Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre, PO Box 3010, Moshi, Tanzania.
8
Department of Medicine, Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre, PO Box 3010, Moshi, Tanzania.
9
Division of Cardiology, Duke University Medical Center, 2301 Erwin Rd, Durham, NC.
10
Otago Global Health Institute, University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin, New Zealand 9054.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Little is known about community knowledge of myocardial infarction symptoms and perceptions of self-risk in sub-Saharan Africa.

METHODS:

A community survey was conducted in northern Tanzania, where the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors is high. Households were selected randomly in a population-weighted fashion and surveys were administered to self-identified household healthcare decision-makers. Respondents were asked to list all symptoms of a heart attack and asked whether they thought they had a chance of suffering a heart attack. Associations between participant sociodemographic features and responses to these questions were assessed with Pearson's chi-squared and the Student t test.

RESULTS:

There were 718 survey participants, with median (IQR) age 48 (32, 62) years. Of these, 115 (16.0%) were able to identify any conventional symptom of a heart attack, including 24 (3.3%) respondents who cited chest pain as a possible symptom. There was no association between ability to identify a conventional symptom and gender, level of education, socioeconomic status, urban residence, or age. Of respondents, 198 (27.6%) thought they had a chance of suffering a heart attack. Older respondents were more likely to perceive themselves to be at risk (P < .001), but there was no association between perception of self-risk and gender, level of education, socioeconomic status, or urban residence.

CONCLUSIONS:

In northern Tanzania, knowledge of myocardial infarction symptoms is poor among all segments of the population and only a minority of residents perceive themselves to be at risk of this disease. Educational interventions regarding ischemic heart disease are urgently needed.

PMID:
30743209
DOI:
10.1016/j.ahj.2019.01.003
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