Heart of Soweto Study Published

Preliminary findings from the Heart of Soweto Registry 2006 have been released. The Heart of Soweto study aims to improve our understanding of the characteristics and burden imposed by cardiovascular disease (CVD) in an African setting.

The team identified 4 162 cases of cardiovascular disease (1 593 newly diagnosed) in 2006. While the mean age was 54 years, almost a quarter were aged below 40 years. The five most common diagnoses overall were hypertension (54%), heart failure (47%), valvular heart disease or dysfunction (32%), coronary artery disease (15%) and diabetes (10%).

Prevalence of CVD risk factors was very high; only 13% had no risk factors while 47% of patients with hypertension were obese.

Overall, this data provided good evidence to show that the phenomenon of epidemiologic transition in Soweto, South Africa, has broadened the complexity and spectrum of heart disease in this community. We found multiple threats to the current and future heart health of Soweto from a high prevalence of modifiable risk factors for atherosclerotic disease, a combination of infectious and non-communicable forms of heart disease and late clinical presentation.