BACKGROUND: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common sustained arrhythmia seen in clinical practice. It has been extensively studied in Western countries but less is known about developing countries. METHODS: We collected data on a rural population afferent to Wolisso hospital in Ethiopia, analysing epidemiology, clinical and cardiac ultrasound profile.We enrolled 54 patients with first diagnosis of AF who undertook cardiac ultrasound and a questionnaire about personal and clinical profile. RESULTS: Enrolled patients were younger than reported in the African urban population (mean age 51 years) and females were symptomatic at a younger age than males (61.8% of females were <50 years old versus 30% of males) and had complicated disease (100% of females had CHF). Rheumatic heart disease (RHD) was found in 38.9% of patients, especially in females (41.1%) and young patients, whereas hypertension (HTN) and degenerative valvular disease were predisposing to AF in old patients. CONCLUSION: Low socio-economic level may explain findings we observed, particularly male to female ratio, more relevant than in urban subsets. RHD and HTN are many etiological factors of AF in our small population, so low-cost strategies to prevent their complications are surely cost-effective in rural catchment area of Wolisso hospital.
- atrial fibrillation
- rheumatic heart disease
- rural population
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health