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1.  The natural history of latent rheumatic heart disease in a 5 year follow-up study: a prospective observational study 
Latent rheumatic heart disease (RHD) occurs in asymptomatic individuals with echocardiographic evidence of RHD and no history of acute rheumatic fever. The natural history of latent RHD is unclear but has important clinical and economic implications about whether these children should receive penicillin prophylaxis or not. We performed a 5-year prospective study of this question.
In August 2013 through September 2014, we conducted a follow-up study of latent RHD among school pupils using the World Heart Federation (WHF) echocardiographic criteria. Contingency tables were used to assess progression, persistence or regression of latent RHD.
Forty two borderline and 13 definite cases of RHD (n 55) were identified, 44 (80 %; mean age 13.8 ± 4.0 years; 29 (65.9 %) female) of whom were available for echocardiographic examination at a median follow-up of 60.8 months (interquartile range 51.3-63.5). Over the follow-up period, half the participants (n = 23; 52.3 %) improved to normal or better WHF category (regressors), a third (n = 14, 31.8 %) remained in the same category (persistors), while seven others (15.9 %) progressed from borderline to definite RHD (progressors). In total, 21 subjects (47.7 %) reverted to a normal status, nine (20.4 %) either improved from definite to borderline or remained in the borderline category, and 14 (31.8 %) either remained definite or progressed from borderline to a definite status. Two cases (20 %) progressed to symptomatic disease.
Latent RHD has a variable natural history that ranges from regression to normal in nearly half of cases, to persistence, progression or development of symptoms in the remainder of subjects.
PMCID: PMC4759741  PMID: 26892774
Latent rheumatic heart disease; Natural history; Outcome
2.  The efficacy and safety of complete pericardial drainage by means of intrapericardial fibrinolysis for the prevention of complications of pericardial effusion: a systematic review protocol 
BMJ Open  2016;6(1):e007842.
Intrapericardial fibrinolysis has been proposed as a means of preventing complications of pericardial effusion such as cardiac tamponade, persistent and recurrent pericardial effusion, and pericardial constriction. There is a need to understand the efficacy and safety of this procedure because it shows promise.
Methods and analysis
We aim to assess the effects of intrapericardial fibrinolysis in the treatment of pericardial effusion. We will search PubMed, the Cochrane Library, African Journals online, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, Trip database, Clinical and the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform for studies that evaluate the efficacy and/or safety of complete pericardial fluid drainage by intrapericardial fibrinolysis irrespective of study design, geographical location, language, age of participants, aetiology of pericarditis or types of fibrinolytics. Two authors will do the search independently, screen the search outputs for potentially eligible studies and assess whether the studies meet the inclusion criteria. Discrepancies between the two authors will be resolved through discussion and arbitration by a third author. Data from the selected studies shall be extracted using a standardised data collection form which will be piloted before use. The methodological quality of studies will be assessed using the Cochrane Collaboration's tools for assessing risk of bias for experimental studies and non-randomised studies, respectively. The primary meta-analysis will use random effects models due to expected interstudy heterogeneity. Dichotomous data will be analysed using relative risk and continuous with data mean differences, both with 95% CIs.
Ethics and dissemination
Approval by an ethics committee is not required for this study as it is a protocol for a systematic review of published studies. The results will be disseminated through a conference presentation and peer-reviewed publication.
Review registration number
PROSPERO, CRD42014015238.
PMCID: PMC4716243  PMID: 26733562
3.  The Effects of Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Inhibitors (ACE-I) on Human N-Acetyl-Seryl-Aspartyl-Lysyl-Proline (Ac-SDKP) Levels: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(12):e0143338.
Tuberculous pericardial effusion is a pro-fibrotic condition that is complicated by constrictive pericarditis in 4% to 8% of cases. N-acetyl-seryl-aspartyl-lysyl-proline (Ac-SDKP) is a ubiquitous tetrapeptide with anti-fibrotic properties that is low in tuberculous pericardial effusion, thus providing a potential mechanism for the heightened fibrotic state. Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE-I), which increase Ac-SDKP levels with anti-fibrotic effects in animal models, are candidate drugs for preventing constrictive pericarditis if they can be shown to have similar effects on Ac-SDKP and fibrosis in human tissues.
To systematically review the effects of ACE-Is on Ac-SDKP levels in human tissues.
We searched five electronic databases (1996 to 2014) and conference abstracts with no language restrictions. Two reviewers independently selected studies, extracted data and assessed methodological quality. The protocol was registered in PROSPERO.
Four studies with a total of 206 participants met the inclusion criteria. Three studies (106 participants) assessed the change in plasma levels of Ac-SDKP following ACE-I administration in healthy humans. The administration of an ACE-I was associated with an increase in Ac-SDKP levels (mean difference (MD) 5.07 pmol/ml (95% confidence intervals (CI) 0.64 pmol/ml to 9.51 pmol/ml)). Two studies with 100 participants further assessed the change in Ac-SDKP level in humans with renal failure using ACE-I. The administration of an ACE-I was associated with a significant increase in Ac-SDKP levels (MD 8.94 pmol/ml; 95% CI 2.55 to 15.33; I2 = 44%).
ACE-I increased Ac-SDKP levels in human plasma. These findings provide the rationale for testing the impact of ACE-I on Ac-SDKP levels and fibrosis in tuberculous pericarditis.
PMCID: PMC4686106  PMID: 26656271
4.  An open-access mobile compatible electronic patient register for rheumatic heart disease (‘eRegister’) based on the World Heart Federation’s framework for patient registers 
Cardiovascular Journal of Africa  2015;26(6):227-233.
Rheumatic heart disease (RHD) remains a major disease burden in low-resource settings globally. Patient registers have long been recognised to be an essential instrument in RHD control and elimination programmes, yet to date rely heavily on paper-based data collection and non-networked data-management systems, which limit their functionality.
To assess the feasibility and potential benefits of producing an electronic RHD patient register.
We developed an eRegister based on the World Heart Federation’s framework for RHD patient registers using CommCare, an open-source, cloud-based software for health programmes that supports the development of customised data capture using mobile devices.
The resulting eRegistry application allows for simultaneous data collection and entry by field workers using mobile devices, and by providers using computer terminals in clinics and hospitals. Data are extracted from CommCare and are securely uploaded into a cloud-based database that matches the criteria established by the WHF framework. The application can easily be tailored to local needs by modifying existing variables or adding new ones. Compared with traditional paper-based data-collection systems, the eRegister reduces the risk of data error, synchronises in real-time, improves clinical operations and supports management of field team operations.
The user-friendly eRegister is a low-cost, mobile, compatible platform for RHD treatment and prevention programmes based on materials sanctioned by the World Heart Federation. Readily adaptable to local needs, this paperless RHD patient register program presents many practical benefits.
PMCID: PMC4780020  PMID: 26444995
rheumatic heart disease; registries; mobile health; open-source model
5.  Expanding the clinical spectrum of hereditary fibrosing poikiloderma with tendon contractures, myopathy and pulmonary fibrosis due to FAM111B mutations 
Hereditary Fibrosing Poikiloderma (HFP) with tendon contractures, myopathy and pulmonary fibrosis (POIKTMP [MIM 615704]) is a very recently described entity of syndromic inherited poikiloderma. Previously by using whole exome sequencing in five families, we identified the causative gene, FAM111B (NM_198947.3), the function of which is still unknown. Our objective in this study was to better define the specific features of POIKTMP through a larger series of patients.
Clinical and molecular data of two families and eight independent sporadic cases, including six new cases, were collected.
Key features consist of: (i) early-onset poikiloderma, hypotrichosis and hypohidrosis; (ii) multiple contractures, in particular triceps surae muscle contractures; (iii) diffuse progressive muscular weakness; (iv) pulmonary fibrosis in adulthood and (v) other features including exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, liver impairment and growth retardation. Muscle magnetic resonance imaging was informative and showed muscle atrophy and fatty infiltration. Histological examination of skeletal muscle revealed extensive fibroadipose tissue infiltration. Microscopy of the skin showed a scleroderma-like aspect with fibrosis and alterations of the elastic network. FAM111B gene analysis identified five different missense variants (two recurrent mutations were found respectively in three and four independent families). All the mutations were predicted to localize in the trypsin-like cysteine/serine peptidase domain of the protein. We suggest gain-of-function or dominant-negative mutations resulting in FAM111B enzymatic activity changes.
HFP with tendon contractures, myopathy and pulmonary fibrosis, is a multisystemic disorder due to autosomal dominant FAM111B mutations. Future functional studies will help in understanding the specific pathological process of this fibrosing disorder.
PMCID: PMC4608180  PMID: 26471370
Poikiloderma; Myopathy; Contractures; Pulmonary fibrosis; Adiposis
6.  Tuberculous Pericarditis is Multibacillary and Bacterial Burden Drives High Mortality 
EBioMedicine  2015;2(11):1634-1639.
Tuberculous pericarditis is considered to be a paucibacillary process; the large pericardial fluid accumulation is attributed to an inflammatory response to tuberculoproteins. Mortality rates are high. We investigated the role of clinical and microbial factors predictive of tuberculous pericarditis mortality using the artificial intelligence algorithm termed classification and regression tree (CART) analysis.
Patients were prospectively enrolled and followed in the Investigation of the Management of Pericarditis (IMPI) registry. Clinical and laboratory data of 70 patients with confirmed tuberculous pericarditis, including time-to-positive (TTP) cultures from pericardial fluid, were extracted and analyzed for mortality outcomes using CART. TTP was translated to log10 colony forming units (CFUs) per mL, and compared to that obtained from sputum in some of our patients.
Seventy patients with proven tuberculous pericarditis were enrolled. The median patient age was 35 (range: 20–71) years. The median, follow up was for 11.97 (range: 0·03–74.73) months. The median TTP for pericardial fluid cultures was 22 (range: 4–58) days or 3.91(range: 0·5–8·96) log10CFU/mL, which overlapped with the range of 3.24–7.42 log10CFU/mL encountered in sputum, a multi-bacillary disease. The overall mortality rate was 1.43 per 100 person-months. CART identified follow-up duration of 5·23 months on directly observed therapy, a CD4 + count of ≤ 199.5/mL, and TTP ≤ 14 days (bacillary load ≥ 5.53 log10 CFU/mL) as predictive of mortality. TTP interacted with follow-up duration in a non-linear fashion.
Patients with culture confirmed tuberculous pericarditis have a high bacillary burden, and this bacterial burden drives mortality. Thus proven tuberculosis pericarditis is not a paucibacillary disease. Moreover, the severe immunosuppression suggests limited inflammation. There is a need for the design of a highly bactericidal regimen for this condition.
•The antibiotic concentrations achieved in TB pericarditis fluid have up to now been unknown•The pH in pericardial fluid was alkaline, which would mean that pyrazinamide effect would be compromised.•The protein content in pericardial fluid was high, which would lead to low non-protein bound drug concentrations•The concentrations of rifampicin, ethambutol and pyrazinamide in pericardial were dramatically low and below their MICs
Tuberculous pericarditis kills many patients, even those receiving appropriate antibiotic treatment which consists of a cocktail of rifampicin, isoniazid, ethambutol and pyrazinamide. It is unknown if curative concentrations of these drugs are achieved at the site of tuberculous pericarditis. Therefore, we measured the concentrations of each of these antibiotics in pericardial fluid of patients with tuberculous pericarditis. There were dramatically low rifampicin, ethambutol, and pyrazinamide concentrations in pericardial fluid, compared to susceptibility of the infecting bacterium, Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Only isoniazid entered pericardial fluid at effective concentrations. This could explain the high rates of mortality and morbidity of current therapy. There might be a need to identify new drugs that can penetrate into pericardial fluid for treatment of tuberculosis pericarditis.
PMCID: PMC4740299  PMID: 26870789
CD4 + counts; HIV; Age; Therapy failure; Bacterial burden
7.  Poor Penetration of Antibiotics Into Pericardium in Pericardial Tuberculosis 
EBioMedicine  2015;2(11):1640-1649.
Pericardial tuberculosis (TB) is associated with high therapy failure and high mortality rates. Antibiotics have to penetrate to site of infection at sufficient non-protein bound concentrations, and then enter bacteria to inhibit intracellular biochemical processes. The antibiotic concentrations achieved in pericardial fluid in TB pericarditis have never been measured before. We recruited two cohorts of patients with TB pericarditis, and left a pigtail catheter in-situ for serial drug concentration measurements over 24 h. Altogether, 704 drug concentrations were comodeled for pharmacokinetic analyses. The drug concentrations achieved in pericardial fluid were compared to the minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of clinical Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates. The total rifampicin concentration pericardial-to-serum ratios in 16 paired samples were 0.19 ± 0.33. The protein concentrations of the pericardial fluid in TB pericarditis were observed to be as high as in plasma. The non-protein bound rifampicin concentrations in pericardial fluid were 4-fold lower than rifampicin MICs in the pilot study, and the peak concentration was 0.125 versus 0.208 mg/L in the second (p = 0.001). The rifampicin clearance from pericardial fluid was 9.45 L/h versus 7.82 L/h in plasma (p = 0.002). Ethambutol peak concentrations had a pericardial-to-plasma ratio of 0.55 ± 0.22; free ethambutol peak concentrations were 2.30-lower than MICs (p < 0·001). The pericardial fluid pH was 7.34. The median pyrazinamide peak concentrations were 42.93 mg/L versus a median MIC of 800 mg/L at pH 7.34 (p < 0.0001). There was no significant difference between isoniazid pericardial fluid and plasma concentrations, and isoniazid peak concentrations were above MIC. This is the first study to measure anti-TB drug concentrations, pH and protein in the pericardial TB fluid. Pericardial concentrations of the key sterilizing drugs for TB were below MIC, which could contribute to poor outcomes. A new regimen that overcomes these limitations might need to be crafted.
•The amounts of antibiotics such as rifampicin, ethambutol, pyrazinamide and isoniazid used to treat TB pericarditis that enter pericardial fluid have up to now been unknown•The study found that the pH in pericardial fluid was alkaline, which would mean that pyrazinamide effect would be compromised.•The protein content in pericardial fluid was high, which would lead to low non-protein bound rifampicin and ethambutol concentrations•The concentrations of rifampicin, ethambutol and pyrazinamide in pericardial were dramatically low and below the MICs of Mycobacterium tuberculosis
PMCID: PMC4740291  PMID: 26870790
Rifampicin; Ethambutol; Pyrazinamide; Drug penetration; Pericardium; Protein binding
8.  Prevalence of group A streptococcal disease in North and Sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic review protocol 
BMJ Open  2015;5(8):e008646.
The true burden of group A streptococcal (GAS) disease in Africa is not known. GAS is a significant cause of mortality and morbidity on the global scale and in developing countries. According to Carapetis et al, the prevalence of severe GAS disease is at least 18.1 million cases with an incidence of at least 1.78 million cases per year.
Methods and analyses
We aim to provide a systematic review of studies measuring the prevalence of GAS infection among people in North and Sub-Saharan African countries. A comprehensive literature search of a number of databases will be undertaken, using an African search filter, to identify GAS prevalence studies that have been published. Full copies of articles will be identified by a defined search strategy and will be considered for inclusion against predefined criteria. Statistical analysis will include two steps: (1) identification of data sources and documenting of estimates, and (2) the application of the random-effects and fixed-effects meta-analysis model to aggregate prevalence estimates, and to account for between study variability in calculating the overall pooled estimates and 95% CI for GAS prevalence. Heterogeneity will be evaluated using the I2 statistic to determine the extent of variation in effect estimates that is due to heterogeneity rather than chance. This systematic review protocol was prepared according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses Protocols (PRISMA-P) 2015 Statement. This review will provide updated evidence of a review published in 2009. Our data will have implications for the development of a GAS vaccine.
Ethics and dissemination
Ethics approval is not required for this study given that this is a protocol for a systematic review of published studies. The results of this study will be disseminated through a peer-reviewed publication and conference presentation.
Systematic review registration number
PROSPERO CRD4201401290 0. (
PMCID: PMC4554900  PMID: 26316653
9.  Pregnancy-Associated Heart Failure: A Comparison of Clinical Presentation and Outcome between Hypertensive Heart Failure of Pregnancy and Idiopathic Peripartum Cardiomyopathy 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(8):e0133466.
There is controversy regarding the inclusion of patients with hypertension among cases of peripartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM), as the practice has contributed significantly to the discrepancy in reported characteristics of PPCM. We sought to determine whether hypertensive heart failure of pregnancy (HHFP) (i.e., peripartum cardiac failure associated with any form of hypertension) and PPCM have similar or different clinical features and outcome.
Methods and Results
We compared the time of onset of symptoms, clinical profile (including electrocardiographic [ECG] and echocardiographic features) and outcome of patients with HHFP (n = 53; age 29.6 ± 6.6 years) and PPCM (n = 30; age 31.5 ± 7.5 years). The onset of symptoms was postpartum in all PPCM patients, whereas it was antepartum in 85% of HHFP cases (p<0.001). PPCM was more significantly associated with the following features than HHFP (p<0.05): twin pregnancy, smoking, cardiomegaly with lower left ventricular ejection fraction on echocardiography, and longer QRS duration, QRS abnormalities, left atrial hypertrophy, left bundle branch block, T wave inversion and atrial fibrillation on ECG. By contrast, HHFP patients were significantly more likely (p<0.05) to have a family history of hypertension, hypertension and pre-eclampsia in a previous pregnancy, tachycardia at presentation on ECG, and left ventricular hypertrophy on echocardiography. Chronic heart failure, intra-cardiac thrombus and pulmonary hypertension were found significantly more commonly in PPCM than in HHFP (p<0.05). There were 5 deaths in the PPCM group compared to none among HHFP cases (p = 0.005) during follow-up.
There are significant differences in the time of onset of heart failure, clinical, ECG and echocardiographic features, and outcome of HHFP compared to PPCM, indicating that the presence of hypertension in pregnancy-associated heart failure may not fit the case definition of idiopathic PPCM.
PMCID: PMC4529210  PMID: 26252951
10.  Performance of re-used pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators compared with new devices at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa 
Cardiovascular Journal of Africa  2015;26(4):181-187.
Little is known about the performance of re-used pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) in Africa. We sought to compare the risk of infection and the rate of malfunction of re-used pacemakers and ICDs with new devices implanted at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa.
This was a retrospective case comparison study of the performance of re-used pacemakers and ICDs in comparison with new devices implanted at Groote Schuur Hospital over a 10-year period. The outcomes were incidence of device infection, device malfunction, early battery depletion, and device removal due to infection, malfunction, or early battery depletion.
Data for 126 devices implanted in 126 patients between 2003 and 2013 were analysed, of which 102 (81%) were pacemakers (51 re-used and 51 new) and 24 (19%) were ICDs (12 re-used and 12 new). There was no device infection, malfunction, early battery depletion or device removal in either the re-used or new pacemaker groups over the median follow up of 15.1 months [interquartile range (IQR), 1.3–36.24 months] for the re-used pacemakers, and 55.8 months (IQR, 20.3–77.8 months) for the new pacemakers. In the ICD group, no device infection occurred over a median follow up of 35.9 months (IQR, 17.0–70.9 months) for the re-used ICDs and 45.7 months (IQR, 37.6–53.7 months) for the new ICDs. One device delivered inappropriate shocks, which resolved without intervention and with no harm to the patient. This re-used ICD subsequently needed generator replacement 14 months later. In both the pacemaker and ICD groups, there were no procedure-non-related infections documented for the respective follow-up periods.
No significant differences were found in performance between re-used and new pacemakers and ICDs with regard to infection rates, device malfunction, battery life and device removal for complications. Pacemaker and ICD re-use is feasible and safe and is a viable option for patients with bradyarrhythmias and tachyarrthythmias.
PMCID: PMC4683290  PMID: 26407220
re-used devices; pacemakers; ICDs; performance; safety
11.  The H3Africa policy framework: negotiating fairness in genomics 
Trends in genetics : TIG  2015;31(3):117-119.
Human Heredity and Health in Africa (H3Africa) research seeks to promote fair collaboration between scientists in Africa and those from elsewhere. Here, we outline how concerns over inequality and exploitation led to a policy framework that places a firm focus on African leadership and capacity building as guiding principles for African genomics research.
PMCID: PMC4471134  PMID: 25601285
Africa; genomics; ethics; fairness; H3Africa
12.  Effect of distance to health facility on the maintenance of INR therapeutic ranges in rheumatic heart disease patients from Cape Town: no evidence for an association 
Lack of adherence to international normalised ratio (INR) monitoring in rheumatic heart disease (RHD) patients is a contributor to cardio-embolic complications. This population-based observational study investigated whether the distance between home and an INR clinic affects the maintenance of therapeutic INR in RHD patients on warfarin.
Residential addresses, INR clinics, and INR results of patients with RHD were extracted from the Cape Town component of the Global Rheumatic Heart Disease Registry (REMEDY) database. Addresses of homes and INR clinics were converted to geographical coordinates and verified in ArcGIS 10®. ArcGIS 10® and Google Maps® were used for spatial mapping and obtaining shortest road distances respectively. The travel distance between the home and INR clinic was correlated with time within therapeutic range (TTR) using the Rosendaal linear interpolation method, and with the fraction of INR within range, based on an average of three INR readings of patients and compared with recommended therapeutic ranges.
RHD patients (n = 133) resided between 0.2 km and 50.8 km (median distance, 3.60 km) from one of 33 INR clinics. There was no significant difference in the achievement of the therapeutic INR between patients who travelled a shorter distance compared to those who travelled a longer distance (in range = 3.50 km versus out of range = 3.75 km, p = 0.78). This finding was the same for patients with mechanical valve replacement (n = 105) (3.50 km versus 3.90 km, p = 0.81), and native valves (3.45 km versus 2.75 km, p = 0.84).
There is no association between the maintenance of INR within therapeutic range amongst RHD patients in Cape Town and distance from patients’ residence to the INR clinic.
PMCID: PMC4456049  PMID: 26041470
GIS; INR; RHD; Distance decay
13.  Common variation in the CD36 (fatty acid translocase) gene is associated with left-ventricular mass 
Journal of hypertension  2011;29(4):690-695.
Genetic variation in the fatty acid translocase (CD36) gene has been shown in animal models to affect several risk factors for the development of left-ventricular hypertrophy, but this phenotype has not, thus far, been investigated in humans. We examined the relationship between common genetic polymorphisms in the CD36 gene and left-ventricular mass.
Methods and results
We studied a cohort of 255 families comprising 1425 individuals ascertained via a hypertensive proband. Seven single-nucleotide polymorphisms which together tagged common genetic variation in the CD36 gene were genotyped using a SEQUENOM MALDI-TOF instrument. There was evidence of association between the rs1761663 polymorphism in intron 1 of the CD36 gene and left-ventricular mass determined either by echocardiography (P = 0.003, N = 780) or electrocardiography (P = 0.001, N = 814). There was also association between rs1761663 genotype and body mass index (P < 0.001, N = 1354). Genotype was associated with between 2 and 8% differences in these phenotypes per allele. After adjustment for the effect of body mass index, there remained significant associations between genotype and left ventricular mass measured either by echo (P = 0.017) or ECG (P = 0.007).
Genotype at the rs1761663 polymorphism has independent effects both on body mass index and left-ventricular mass. Genes with such pleiotropic effects may be particularly attractive therapeutic targets for interventions to modify multiple risk factors for cardiovascular events.
PMCID: PMC4454277  PMID: 21346626
CD36; genetics; left-ventricular mass; obesity
14.  A Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of a Program to Control Rheumatic Fever and Rheumatic Heart Disease in Pinar del Rio, Cuba 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(3):e0121363.
Acute rheumatic fever (ARF) and rheumatic heart disease (RHD) persist in many low- and middle-income countries. To date, the cost-effectiveness of population-based, combined primary and secondary prevention strategies has not been assessed. In the Pinar del Rio province of Cuba, a comprehensive ARF/RHD control program was undertaken over 1986 – 1996. The present study analyzes the cost-effectiveness of this Cuban program.
Methods and Findings
We developed a decision tree model based on the natural history of ARF/RHD, comparing the costs and effectiveness of the 10-year Cuban program to a “do nothing” approach. Our population of interest was the cohort of children aged 5 – 24 years resident in Pinar del Rio in 1986. We assessed costs and health outcomes over a lifetime horizon, and we took the healthcare system perspective on costs but did not apply a discount rate. We used epidemiologic, clinical, and direct medical cost inputs that were previously collected for publications on the Cuban program. We estimated health gains as disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) averted using standard approaches developed for the Global Burden of Disease studies. Cost-effectiveness acceptability thresholds were defined by one and three times per capita gross domestic product per DALY averted. We also conducted an uncertainty analysis using Monte Carlo simulations and several scenario analyses exploring the impact of alternative assumptions about the program’s effects and costs. We found that, compared to doing nothing, the Cuban program averted 5051 DALYs (1844 per 100,000 school-aged children) and saved $7,848,590 (2010 USD) despite a total program cost of $202,890 over 10 years. In the scenario analyses, the program remained cost saving when a lower level of effectiveness and a reduction in averted years of life lost were assumed. In a worst-case scenario including 20-fold higher costs, the program still had a 100% of being cost-effective and an 85% chance of being cost saving.
A 10-year program to control ARF/RHD in Pinar del Rio, Cuba dramatically reduced morbidity and premature mortality in children and young adults and was cost saving. The results of our analysis were robust to higher program costs and more conservative assumptions about the program’s effectiveness. It is possible that the program’s effectiveness resulted from synergies between primary and secondary prevention strategies. The findings of this study have implications for non-communicable disease policymaking in other resource-limited settings.
PMCID: PMC4358951  PMID: 25768008
15.  Increasing the value of health research in the WHO African Region beyond 2015—reflecting on the past, celebrating the present and building the future: a bibliometric analysis 
BMJ Open  2015;5(3):e006340.
To assess the profile and determinants of health research productivity in Africa since the onset of the new millennium.
Bibliometric analysis.
Data collection and synthesis
In November 2014, we searched PubMed for articles published between 2000 and 2014 from the WHO African Region, and obtained country-level indicators from World Bank data. We used Poisson regression to examine time trends in research publications and negative binomial regression to explore determinants of research publications.
We identified 107 662 publications, with a median of 727 per country (range 25–31 757). Three countries (South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya) contributed 52% of the publications. The number of publications increased from 3623 in 2000 to 12 709 in 2014 (relative growth 251%). Similarly, the per cent share of worldwide research publications per year increased from 0.7% in 2000 to 1.3% in 2014. The trend analysis was also significant to confirm a continuous increase in health research publications from Africa, with productivity increasing by 10.3% per year (95% CIs +10.1% to +10.5%). The only independent predictor of publication outputs was national gross domestic product. For every one log US$ billion increase in gross domestic product, research publications rose by 105%: incidence rate ratio (IRR=2.05, 95% CI 1.39 to 3.04). The association of private health expenditure with publications was only marginally significant (IRR=1.86, 95% CI 1.00 to 3.47).
There has been a significant improvement in health research in the WHO African Region since 2000, with some individual countries already having strong research profiles. Countries of the region should implement the WHO Strategy on Research for Health: reinforcing the research culture (organisation); focusing research on key health challenges (priorities); strengthening national health research systems (capacity); encouraging good research practice (standards); and consolidating linkages between health research and action (translation).
PMCID: PMC4360830  PMID: 25770227
16.  Genomic medicine in Africa: promise, problems and prospects 
Genome Medicine  2014;6(2):11.
PMCID: PMC3979013  PMID: 25031612
17.  Chromosome 16q22 variants in a region associated with cardiovascular phenotypes correlate with ZFHX3 expression in a transcript-specific manner 
BMC Genetics  2014;15:136.
The ZFHX3 gene, located in Chromosome 16q22.3, codes for a transcription factor which is widely expressed in human tissues. Genome-wide studies have identified associations between variants within the gene and Kawasaki disease and atrial fibrillation. ZFHX3 has two main transcripts that utilise different transcription start sites. We examined the association between genetic variants in the 16q22.3 region and expression of ZFHX3 to identify variants that regulate gene expression.
We genotyped 65 single-nucleotide polymorphisms to tag genetic variation at the ZFHX3 locus in two cohorts, 451 British individuals recruited in the North East of England and 310 mixed-ancestry individuals recruited in South Africa. Allelic expression analysis revealed that the minor (A) allele of rs8060701, a variant in the first intron of ZFHX3, was associated with a 1.16-fold decrease in allelic expression of both transcripts together, (p = 4.87e-06). The minor (C) allele of a transcribed variant, rs10852515, in the second exon of ZFHX3 isoform A was independently associated with a 1.36-fold decrease in allelic expression of ZFHX3 A (p = 7.06e-31), but not overall ZFHX3 expression. However, analysis of total gene expression of ZFHX3 failed to detect an association with genotype at any variant. Differences in linkage disequilibrium between the two populations allowed fine-mapping of the locus to a 7 kb region overlapping exon 2 of ZFHX3 A. We did not find any association between ZFHX3 expression and any of the variants identified by genome wide association studies.
ZFHX3 transcription is regulated in a transcript-specific fashion by independent cis-acting transcribed polymorphisms. Our results demonstrate the power of allelic expression analysis and trans-ethnic fine mapping to identify transcript-specific cis-acting regulatory elements.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12863-014-0136-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4301889  PMID: 25539802
Expression QTL mapping; Trans-ethnic mapping; Atrial fibrillation; Genome-wide association study
18.  Global, regional, and national incidence and mortality for HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria during 1990–2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013 
Murray, Christopher J L | Ortblad, Katrina F | Guinovart, Caterina | Lim, Stephen S | Wolock, Timothy M | Roberts, D Allen | Dansereau, Emily A | Graetz, Nicholas | Barber, Ryan M | Brown, Jonathan C | Wang, Haidong | Duber, Herbert C | Naghavi, Mohsen | Dicker, Daniel | Dandona, Lalit | Salomon, Joshua A | Heuton, Kyle R | Foreman, Kyle | Phillips, David E | Fleming, Thomas D | Flaxman, Abraham D | Phillips, Bryan K | Johnson, Elizabeth K | Coggeshall, Megan S | Abd-Allah, Foad | Ferede, Semaw | Abraham, Jerry P | Abubakar, Ibrahim | Abu-Raddad, Laith J | Abu-Rmeileh, Niveen Me | Achoki, Tom | Adeyemo, Austine Olufemi | Adou, Arsène Kouablan | Adsuar, José C | Agardh, Emilie Elisabet | Akena, Dickens | Al Kahbouri, Mazin J | Alasfoor, Deena | Albittar, Mohammed I | Alcalá-Cerra, Gabriel | Alegretti, Miguel Angel | Alemu, Zewdie Aderaw | Alfonso-Cristancho, Rafael | Alhabib, Samia | Ali, Raghib | Alla, Francois | Allen, Peter J | Alsharif, Ubai | Alvarez, Elena | Alvis-Guzman, Nelson | Amankwaa, Adansi A | Amare, Azmeraw T | Amini, Hassan | Ammar, Walid | Anderson, Benjamin O | Antonio, Carl Abelardo T | Anwari, Palwasha | Ärnlöv, Johan | Arsenijevic, Valentina S Arsic | Artaman, Ali | Asghar, Rana J | Assadi, Reza | Atkins, Lydia S | Badawi, Alaa | Balakrishnan, Kalpana | Banerjee, Amitava | Basu, Sanjay | Beardsley, Justin | Bekele, Tolesa | Bell, Michelle L | Bernabe, Eduardo | Beyene, Tariku Jibat | Bhala, Neeraj | Bhalla, Ashish | Bhutta, Zulfiqar A | Abdulhak, Aref Bin | Binagwaho, Agnes | Blore, Jed D | Basara, Berrak Bora | Bose, Dipan | Brainin, Michael | Breitborde, Nicholas | Castañeda-Orjuela, Carlos A | Catalá-López, Ferrán | Chadha, Vineet K | Chang, Jung-Chen | Chiang, Peggy Pei-Chia | Chuang, Ting-Wu | Colomar, Mercedes | Cooper, Leslie Trumbull | Cooper, Cyrus | Courville, Karen J | Cowie, Benjamin C | Criqui, Michael H | Dandona, Rakhi | Dayama, Anand | De Leo, Diego | Degenhardt, Louisa | Del Pozo-Cruz, Borja | Deribe, Kebede | Jarlais, Don C Des | Dessalegn, Muluken | Dharmaratne, Samath D | Dilmen, Uğur | Ding, Eric L | Driscoll, Tim R | Durrani, Adnan M | Ellenbogen, Richard G | Ermakov, Sergey Petrovich | Esteghamati, Alireza | Faraon, Emerito Jose A | Farzadfar, Farshad | Fereshtehnejad, Seyed-Mohammad | Fijabi, Daniel Obadare | Forouzanfar, Mohammad H | Paleo, Urbano Fra. | Gaffikin, Lynne | Gamkrelidze, Amiran | Gankpé, Fortuné Gbètoho | Geleijnse, Johanna M | Gessner, Bradford D | Gibney, Katherine B | Ginawi, Ibrahim Abdelmageem Mohamed | Glaser, Elizabeth L | Gona, Philimon | Goto, Atsushi | Gouda, Hebe N | Gugnani, Harish Chander | Gupta, Rajeev | Gupta, Rahul | Hafezi-Nejad, Nima | Hamadeh, Randah Ribhi | Hammami, Mouhanad | Hankey, Graeme J | Harb, Hilda L | Haro, Josep Maria | Havmoeller, Rasmus | Hay, Simon I | Hedayati, Mohammad T | Pi, Ileana B Heredia | Hoek, Hans W | Hornberger, John C | Hosgood, H Dean | Hotez, Peter J | Hoy, Damian G | Huang, John J | Iburg, Kim M | Idrisov, Bulat T | Innos, Kaire | Jacobsen, Kathryn H | Jeemon, Panniyammakal | Jensen, Paul N | Jha, Vivekanand | Jiang, Guohong | Jonas, Jost B | Juel, Knud | Kan, Haidong | Kankindi, Ida | Karam, Nadim E | Karch, André | Karema, Corine Kakizi | Kaul, Anil | Kawakami, Norito | Kazi, Dhruv S | Kemp, Andrew H | Kengne, Andre Pascal | Keren, Andre | Kereselidze, Maia | Khader, Yousef Saleh | Khalifa, Shams Eldin Ali Hassan | Khan, Ejaz Ahmed | Khang, Young-Ho | Khonelidze, Irma | Kinfu, Yohannes | Kinge, Jonas M | Knibbs, Luke | Kokubo, Yoshihiro | Kosen, S | Defo, Barthelemy Kuate | Kulkarni, Veena S | Kulkarni, Chanda | Kumar, Kaushalendra | Kumar, Ravi B | Kumar, G Anil | Kwan, Gene F | Lai, Taavi | Balaji, Arjun Lakshmana | Lam, Hilton | Lan, Qing | Lansingh, Van C | Larson, Heidi J | Larsson, Anders | Lee, Jong-Tae | Leigh, James | Leinsalu, Mall | Leung, Ricky | Li, Yichong | Li, Yongmei | De Lima, Graça Maria Ferreira | Lin, Hsien-Ho | Lipshultz, Steven E | Liu, Shiwei | Liu, Yang | Lloyd, Belinda K | Lotufo, Paulo A | Machado, Vasco Manuel Pedro | Maclachlan, Jennifer H | Magis-Rodriguez, Carlos | Majdan, Marek | Mapoma, Christopher Chabila | Marcenes, Wagner | Marzan, Melvin Barrientos | Masci, Joseph R | Mashal, Mohammad Taufiq | Mason-Jones, Amanda J | Mayosi, Bongani M | Mazorodze, Tasara T | Mckay, Abigail Cecilia | Meaney, Peter A | Mehndiratta, Man Mohan | Mejia-Rodriguez, Fabiola | Melaku, Yohannes Adama | Memish, Ziad A | Mendoza, Walter | Miller, Ted R | Mills, Edward J | Mohammad, Karzan Abdulmuhsin | Mokdad, Ali H | Mola, Glen Liddell | Monasta, Lorenzo | Montico, Marcella | Moore, Ami R | Mori, Rintaro | Moturi, Wilkister Nyaora | Mukaigawara, Mitsuru | Murthy, Kinnari S | Naheed, Aliya | Naidoo, Kovin S | Naldi, Luigi | Nangia, Vinay | Narayan, K M Venkat | Nash, Denis | Nejjari, Chakib | Nelson, Robert G | Neupane, Sudan Prasad | Newton, Charles R | Ng, Marie | Nisar, Muhammad Imran | Nolte, Sandra | Norheim, Ole F | Nowaseb, Vincent | Nyakarahuka, Luke | Oh, In-Hwan | Ohkubo, Takayoshi | Olusanya, Bolajoko O | Omer, Saad B | Opio, John Nelson | Orisakwe, Orish Ebere | Pandian, Jeyaraj D | Papachristou, Christina | Caicedo, Angel J Paternina | Patten, Scott B | Paul, Vinod K | Pavlin, Boris Igor | Pearce, Neil | Pereira, David M | Pervaiz, Aslam | Pesudovs, Konrad | Petzold, Max | Pourmalek, Farshad | Qato, Dima | Quezada, Amado D | Quistberg, D Alex | Rafay, Anwar | Rahimi, Kazem | Rahimi-Movaghar, Vafa | Rahman, Sajjad Ur | Raju, Murugesan | Rana, Saleem M | Razavi, Homie | Reilly, Robert Quentin | Remuzzi, Giuseppe | Richardus, Jan Hendrik | Ronfani, Luca | Roy, Nobhojit | Sabin, Nsanzimana | Saeedi, Mohammad Yahya | Sahraian, Mohammad Ali | Samonte, Genesis May J | Sawhney, Monika | Schneider, Ione J C | Schwebel, David C | Seedat, Soraya | Sepanlou, Sadaf G | Servan-Mori, Edson E | Sheikhbahaei, Sara | Shibuya, Kenji | Shin, Hwashin Hyun | Shiue, Ivy | Shivakoti, Rupak | Sigfusdottir, Inga Dora | Silberberg, Donald H | Silva, Andrea P | Simard, Edgar P | Singh, Jasvinder A | Skirbekk, Vegard | Sliwa, Karen | Soneji, Samir | Soshnikov, Sergey S | Sreeramareddy, Chandrashekhar T | Stathopoulou, Vasiliki Kalliopi | Stroumpoulis, Konstantinos | Swaminathan, Soumya | Sykes, Bryan L | Tabb, Karen M | Talongwa, Roberto Tchio | Tenkorang, Eric Yeboah | Terkawi, Abdullah Sulieman | Thomson, Alan J | Thorne-Lyman, Andrew L | Towbin, Jeffrey A | Traebert, Jefferson | Tran, Bach X | Dimbuene, Zacharie Tsala | Tsilimbaris, Miltiadis | Uchendu, Uche S | Ukwaja, Kingsley N | Uzun, Selen Begüm | Vallely, Andrew J | Vasankari, Tommi J | Venketasubramanian, N | Violante, Francesco S | Vlassov, Vasiliy Victorovich | Vollset, Stein Emil | Waller, Stephen | Wallin, Mitchell T | Wang, Linhong | Wang, XiaoRong | Wang, Yanping | Weichenthal, Scott | Weiderpass, Elisabete | Weintraub, Robert G | Westerman, Ronny | White, Richard A | Wilkinson, James D | Williams, Thomas Neil | Woldeyohannes, Solomon Meseret | Wong, John Q | Xu, Gelin | Yang, Yang C | Yano, Yuichiro | Yentur, Gokalp Kadri | Yip, Paul | Yonemoto, Naohiro | Yoon, Seok-Jun | Younis, Mustafa | Yu, Chuanhua | Jin, Kim Yun | El Sayed Zaki, Maysaa | Zhao, Yong | Zheng, Yingfeng | Zhou, Maigeng | Zhu, Jun | Zou, Xiao Nong | Lopez, Alan D | Vos, Theo
Lancet  2014;384(9947):1005-1070.
The Millennium Declaration in 2000 brought special global attention to HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria through the formulation of Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 6. The Global Burden of Disease 2013 study provides a consistent and comprehensive approach to disease estimation for between 1990 and 2013, and an opportunity to assess whether accelerated progress has occurred since the Millennium Declaration.
To estimate incidence and mortality for HIV, we used the UNAIDS Spectrum model appropriately modified based on a systematic review of available studies of mortality with and without antiretroviral therapy (ART). For concentrated epidemics, we calibrated Spectrum models to fit vital registration data corrected for misclassification of HIV deaths. In generalised epidemics, we minimised a loss function to select epidemic curves most consistent with prevalence data and demographic data for all-cause mortality. We analysed counterfactual scenarios for HIV to assess years of life saved through prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) and ART. For tuberculosis, we analysed vital registration and verbal autopsy data to estimate mortality using cause of death ensemble modelling. We analysed data for corrected case-notifications, expert opinions on the case-detection rate, prevalence surveys, and estimated cause-specific mortality using Bayesian meta-regression to generate consistent trends in all parameters. We analysed malaria mortality and incidence using an updated cause of death database, a systematic analysis of verbal autopsy validation studies for malaria, and recent studies (2010–13) of incidence, drug resistance, and coverage of insecticide-treated bednets.
Globally in 2013, there were 1·8 million new HIV infections (95% uncertainty interval 1·7 million to 2·1 million), 29·2 million prevalent HIV cases (28·1 to 31·7), and 1·3 million HIV deaths (1·3 to 1·5). At the peak of the epidemic in 2005, HIV caused 1·7 million deaths (1·6 million to 1·9 million). Concentrated epidemics in Latin America and eastern Europe are substantially smaller than previously estimated. Through interventions including PMTCT and ART, 19·1 million life-years (16·6 million to 21·5 million) have been saved, 70·3% (65·4 to 76·1) in developing countries. From 2000 to 2011, the ratio of development assistance for health for HIV to years of life saved through intervention was US$4498 in developing countries. Including in HIV-positive individuals, all-form tuberculosis incidence was 7·5 million (7·4 million to 7·7 million), prevalence was 11·9 million (11·6 million to 12·2 million), and number of deaths was 1·4 million (1·3 million to 1·5 million) in 2013. In the same year and in only individuals who were HIV-negative, all-form tuberculosis incidence was 7·1 million (6·9 million to 7·3 million), prevalence was 11·2 million (10·8 million to 11·6 million), and number of deaths was 1·3 million (1·2 million to 1·4 million). Annualised rates of change (ARC) for incidence, prevalence, and death became negative after 2000. Tuberculosis in HIV-negative individuals disproportionately occurs in men and boys (versus women and girls); 64·0% of cases (63·6 to 64·3) and 64·7% of deaths (60·8 to 70·3). Globally, malaria cases and deaths grew rapidly from 1990 reaching a peak of 232 million cases (143 million to 387 million) in 2003 and 1·2 million deaths (1·1 million to 1·4 million) in 2004. Since 2004, child deaths from malaria in sub-Saharan Africa have decreased by 31·5% (15·7 to 44·1). Outside of Africa, malaria mortality has been steadily decreasing since 1990.
Our estimates of the number of people living with HIV are 18·7% smaller than UNAIDS’s estimates in 2012. The number of people living with malaria is larger than estimated by WHO. The number of people living with HIV, tuberculosis, or malaria have all decreased since 2000. At the global level, upward trends for malaria and HIV deaths have been reversed and declines in tuberculosis deaths have accelerated. 101 countries (74 of which are developing) still have increasing HIV incidence. Substantial progress since the Millennium Declaration is an encouraging sign of the effect of global action.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
PMCID: PMC4202387  PMID: 25059949
19.  HIV-1 Subtype C Unproductively Infects Human Cardiomyocytes In Vitro and Induces Apoptosis Mitigated by an Anti-Gp120 Aptamer 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e110930.
HIV-associated cardiomyopathy (HIVCM) is of clinical concern in developing countries because of a high HIV-1 prevalence, especially subtype C, and limited access to highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). For these reasons, we investigated the direct and indirect effects of HIV-1 subtype C infection of cultured human cardiomyocytes and the mechanisms leading to cardiomyocytes damage; as well as a way to mitigate the damage. We evaluated a novel approach to mitigate HIVCM using a previously reported gp120 binding and HIV-1 neutralizing aptamer called UCLA1. We established a cell-based model of HIVCM by infecting human cardiomyocytes with cell-free HIV-1 or co-culturing human cardiomyocytes with HIV-infected monocyte derived macrophages (MDM). We discovered that HIV-1 subtype C unproductively (i.e. its life cycle is arrested after reverse transcription) infects cardiomyocytes. Furthermore, we found that HIV-1 initiates apoptosis of cardiomyocytes through caspase-9 activation, preferentially via the intrinsic or mitochondrial initiated pathway. CXCR4 receptor-using viruses were stronger inducers of apoptosis than CCR5 utilizing variants. Importantly, we discovered that HIV-1 induced apoptosis of cardiomyocytes was mitigated by UCLA1. However, UCLA1 had no protective effective on cardiomyocytes when apoptosis was triggered by HIV-infected MDM. When HIV-1 was treated with UCLA1 prior to infection of MDM, it failed to induce apoptosis of cardiomyocytes. These data suggest that HIV-1 causes a mitochondrial initiated apoptotic cascade, which signal through caspase-9, whereas HIV-1 infected MDM causes apoptosis predominantly via the death-receptor pathway, mediated by caspase-8. Furthermore the data suggest that UCLA1 protects cardiomyocytes from caspase-mediated apoptosis, directly by binding to HIV-1 and indirectly by preventing infection of MDM.
PMCID: PMC4201581  PMID: 25329893
22.  Diagnostic accuracy of quantitative PCR (Xpert MTB/RIF) for tuberculous pericarditis compared to adenosine deaminase and unstimulated interferon-γ in a high burden setting: a prospective study 
BMC Medicine  2014;12:101.
Tuberculous pericarditis (TBP) is associated with high morbidity and mortality, and is an important treatable cause of heart failure in developing countries. Tuberculous aetiology of pericarditis is difficult to diagnose promptly. The utility of the new quantitative PCR test (Xpert MTB/RIF) for the diagnosis of TBP is unknown. This study sought to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of the Xpert MTB/RIF test compared to pericardial adenosine deaminase (ADA) and unstimulated interferon-gamma (uIFNγ) in suspected TBP.
From October 2009 through September 2012, 151 consecutive patients with suspected TBP were enrolled at a single centre in Cape Town, South Africa. Mycobacterium tuberculosis culture and/or pericardial histology served as the reference standard for definite TBP. Receiver-operating-characteristic curve analysis was used for selection of ADA and uIFNγ cut-points.
Of the participants, 49% (74/151) were classified as definite TBP, 33% (50/151) as probable TBP and 18% (27/151) as non TBP. A total of 105 (74%) participants were human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) positive. Xpert-MTB/RIF had a sensitivity and specificity (95% confidence interval (CI)) of 63.8% (52.4% to 75.1%) and 100% (85.6% to 100%), respectively. Concentration of pericardial fluid by centrifugation and using standard sample processing did not improve Xpert MTB/RIF accuracy. ADA (≥35 IU/L) and uIFNγ (≥44 pg/ml) both had a sensitivity of 95.7% (88.1% to 98.5%) and a negative likelihood ratio of 0.05 (0.02 to 0.10). However, the specificity and positive likelihood ratio of uIFNγ was higher than ADA (96.3% (81.7% to 99.3%) and 25.8 (3.6 to 183.4) versus 84% (65.4% to 93.6%) and 6.0 (3.7 to 9.8); P = 0.03) at an estimated background prevalence of TB of 30%. The sensitivity and negative predictive value of both uIFNγ and ADA were higher than Xpert-MT/RIF (P < 0.001).
uIFNγ offers superior accuracy for the diagnosis of microbiologically confirmed TBP compared to the ADA assay and the Xpert MTB/RIF test.
PMCID: PMC4073812  PMID: 24942470
Tuberculous pericarditis; Adenosine deaminase; Interferon γ; Xpert MTB/RIF test; Diagnosis
23.  Reference intervals for the echocardiographic measurements of the right heart in children and adolescents: a systematic review 
Transthoracic echocardiography is the primary imaging modality for the diagnosis of right ventricular (RV) involvement in congenital and acquired heart diseases. There is increasing recognition of the contribution of RV dysfunction in heart diseases affecting children and adolescents, but there is insufficient information on reference intervals for the echocardiographic measurements of the right heart in children and adolescents that represent all the continental populations of the world.
The aim of this systematic review was to collate, from published studies, normative data for echocardiographic evaluation of the right heart in children and adolescents, and to identify gaps in knowledge in this field especially with respect to sub-Saharan Africans.
We performed a systematic literature search to identify studies of reference intervals for right heart measurements as determined by transthoracic echocardiography in healthy children and adolescents of school-going age. Articles were retrieved from electronic databases with a combination of search terms from the earliest date available until May 2013.
Reference data were available for a broad range of variables. Fifty one studies out of 3096 publications were included. The sample sizes of the reference populations ranged from 13 to 2036 with ages varying from 5 to 21 years. We identified areas lacking sufficient reference data. These included reference data for determining right atrial size, tricuspid valve area, RV dimensions and areas, the RV % fractional area change, pulmonary artery pressure gradients and the right-sided haemodynamics, including the inferior vena cava dimensions and collapsibility. There were no data for sub-Saharan African children and adolescents.
Reliable reference data are lacking for important echocardiographic measurements of the RV in children and adolescents, especially for sub-Saharan Africans.
PMCID: PMC3922696  PMID: 24476413
Echocardiography; Reference ranges; Normal values; Right ventricle; Right atrium; Tricuspid; Pulmonary; Vena cava; Paediatric
24.  Prevalence, Hemodynamics, and Cytokine Profile of Effusive-Constrictive Pericarditis in Patients with Tuberculous Pericardial Effusion 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e77532.
Effusive constrictive pericarditis (ECP) is visceral constriction in conjunction with compressive pericardial effusion. The prevalence of proven tuberculous ECP is unknown. Whilst ECP is distinguished from effusive disease on hemodynamic grounds, it is unknown whether effusive-constrictive physiology has a distinct cytokine profile. We conducted a prospective study of prevalence and cytokine profile of effusive-constrictive disease in patients with tuberculous pericardial effusion.
From July 2006 through July 2009, the prevalence of ECP and serum and pericardial levels of inflammatory cytokines were determined in adults with tuberculous pericardial effusion. The diagnosis of ECP was made by combined pericardiocentesis and cardiac catheterization.
Of 91 patients evaluated, 68 had tuberculous pericarditis. The 36/68 patients (52.9%; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 41.2-65.4) with ECP were younger (29 versus 37 years, P=0.02), had a higher pre-pericardiocentesis right atrial pressure (17.0 versus 10.0 mmHg, P<0.0001), serum concentration of interleukin-10 (IL-10) (38.5 versus 0.2 pg/ml, P<0.001) and transforming growth factor-beta (121.5 versus 29.1 pg/ml, P=0.02), pericardial concentration of IL-10 (84.7 versus 20.4 pg/ml, P=0.006) and interferon-gamma (2,568.0 versus 906.6 pg/ml, P=0.03) than effusive non-constrictive cases. In multivariable regression analysis, right atrial pressure > 15 mmHg (odds ratio [OR] = 48, 95%CI: 8.7-265; P<0.0001) and IL-10 > 200 pg/ml (OR=10, 95%CI: 1.1, 93; P=0.04) were independently associated with ECP.
Effusive-constrictive disease occurs in half of cases of tuberculous pericardial effusion, and is characterized by greater elevation in the pre-pericardiocentesis right atrial pressure and pericardial and serum IL-10 levels compared to patients with effusive non-constrictive tuberculous pericarditis.
PMCID: PMC3796485  PMID: 24155965
25.  Prevalence of myocarditis and cardiotropic virus infection in Africans with HIV-associated cardiomyopathy, idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy and heart transplant recipients: a pilot study 
Cardiovascular Journal of Africa  2013;24(6):218-223.
The prevalence of myocarditis and cardiotropic viral infection in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-associated cardiomyopathy is unknown in Africa.
Between April 2002 and December 2007, we compared the prevalence of myocarditis and cardiotropic viral genomes in HIV-associated cardiomyopathy cases with HIV-negative idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy patients (i.e. negative controls for immunodeficiency) and heart transplant recipients (i.e. positive controls for immunodeficiency) who were seen at Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa. Myocarditis was sought on endomyocardial biopsy using the imunohistological criteria of the World Heart Federation in 33 patients, 14 of whom had HIV-associated cardiomyopathy, eight with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy and 11 heart transplant recipients.
Myocarditis was present in 44% of HIV-associated cardiomyopathy cases, 36% of heart transplant recipients, and 25% of participants with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy. While myocarditis was acute in 50% of HIV- and heart transplant-associated myocarditis, it was chronic in all those with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy. Cardiotropic viral infection was present in all HIV-associated cardiomyopathy and idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy cases, and in 90% of heart transplant recipients. Multiple viruses were identified in the majority of cases, with HIV-associated cardiomyopathy, heart transplant recipients and idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy patients having an average of 2.5, 2.2 and 1.1 viruses per individual, respectively.
Acute myocarditis was present in 21% of cases of HIV-associated cardiomyopathy, compared to none of those with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy. Infection with multiple cardiotropic viruses may be ubiquitous in Africans, with a greater burden of infection in acquired immunodeficiency states.
PMCID: PMC3767940  PMID: 23775037
HIV-associated cardiomyopathy; myocarditis; dilated cardiomyopathy; cardiotropic virus

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