A prospective review of acute coronary syndromes in an urban hospital in sub-Saharan Africa

Document Type



Internal Medicine (East Africa)


Objectives: To determine the epidemiology of acute coronary syndromes (ACS) in sub-Saharan Africa.

Methods: A prospective survey was carried out of all patients with a diagnosis of ACS who were admitted to the critical care unit of a tertiary teaching hospital over a 25-month period. Demographics, presentation, management and outcomes were subsequently recorded.

Results: A total of 111 (5.1% of all hospitalisations) patients were recruited, with 56% presenting with ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) and the rest non-ST-elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI) or unstable angina (UA). Chest pain was the most common presenting symptom, and up to one-third of all STEMI patients did not receive any form of reperfusion therapy, primarily due to late presentation. As in the developed world, diabetes, hypertension and cigarette smoking still account for the most common predisposing risk-factor profile, and the mortality associated with ACS is about six to 10% in our unit.

Conclusions: ACS, contrary to common belief, is increasingly more prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa, with similar risk profiles to that in the developed world. Late presentation to hospital is common and accounts for the increased mortality associated with this condition.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Cardiovascular Journal of Africa

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.