1921
Volume 58, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645
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Abstract

Postpartum cardiac failure (PPCF) is the most frequent clinical form of heart failure in hospitalized women in Sudanese-Sahelian Africa. We have previously studied this disease in a hospital setting. Although the incidence is relatively high in rural areas, no systematic field study has been carried out. In this report, we describe a retrospective study conducted in the western part of Niger in July-August 1991. Sixty-two villages were visited and a thorough search for patients was initiated (from a population of 79,941 inhabitants, 19,941 females 14-40 years of age, corrected census of 1988). Twenty-eight patients from 27 villages were included. The subject patients were those presenting with predefined symptoms (dyspnea and cough) and physical signs (edema of the legs) of congestive heart failure during the six-month period following delivery. Apart from arterial hypertension and previous PPCF, diagnosis of another cardiac disease was an exclusion criterion. The prevalence of PPCF was 1.40 per 1,000 females of child-bearing age. The clinical profiles of these cases were in accordance with those of a previous study in 1989 carried out at Niamey Hospital. These results were a mean +/- SD age of 28 +/- 7 years, multiparity (mean = 4 children), poor socioeconomic status, postpartum ablutions with hot water, and a high sodium intake. This is the first study on the clinical prevalence of PPCF in a Sudanese/Sahelian population living in a rural area.

A descriptive retrospective study conducted in 62 villages in Western Niger in July-August 1994, examined the prevalence of postpartum cardiac failure (PCF). This condition, the most frequent clinical form of heart failure in hospitalized women in Sudanese-Sahelian Africa, has not previously been investigated in a field study. Meetings with village leaders were used to identify women who had just given birth and those who were ill. Through this method, 60 ill women who had given birth in the preceding 9 months were identified. PCF was diagnosed in 28 of these women from 27 villages on the basis of predefined symptoms (dyspnea and cough) and physical signs (edema of the legs) of congestive heart failure during the 6 months after delivery. The prevalence of PCF was 1.40/1000 women of childbearing age; likely an underestimate since the field identification criteria did not take into account women who had already died. The mean age of identified patients was 28 years, with a mean parity of 4. Low socioeconomic status, postpartum ablutions with hot water, and a high sodium intake were common in these women. A comparison of 17 clinical and epidemiological factors in this series with those of 66 patients who previously had PCF confirmed at Niamey National Hospital did not reveal any significant differences in the incidence of symptoms between the 2 groups, although functional discomfort was more severe in the hospital study. Untreated cardiac failure is usually a fatal disease. Timely identification of PCF is hindered, however, by well-tolerated symptoms.

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/content/journals/10.4269/ajtmh.1998.58.319
1998-03-01
2017-11-18
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