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1.  Determinants of hypertension in a young adult Ugandan population in epidemiological transition—the MEPI-CVD survey 
BMC Public Health  2015;15:830.
High blood pressure is the principal risk factor for stroke, heart failure and kidney failure in the young population in Africa. Control of hypertension is associated with a larger reduction in morbidity and mortality in younger populations compared with the elderly; however, blood pressure control efforts in the young are hampered by scarcity of data on prevalence and factors influencing awareness, treatment and control of hypertension. We aimed to describe the prevalence of prehypertension and hypertension among young adults in a peri-urban district of Uganda and the factors associated with occurrence of hypertension in this population.
This cross-sectional study was conducted between August, 2012 and May 2013 in Wakiso district, a suburban district that that encircles Kampala, Uganda’s capital city. We collected data on socio-demographic characteristics and hypertension status using a modified STEPs questionnaire from 3685 subjects aged 18–40 years selected by multistage cluster sampling. Blood pressure and anthropometric measurements were performed using standardized protocols. Fasting blood sugar and HIV status were determined using a venous blood sample. Association between hypertension status and various biosocial factors was assessed using logistic regression.
The overall prevalence of hypertension was 15 % (95 % CI 14.2 – 19.6) and 40 % were pre-hypertensive. Among the 553 hypertensive participants, 76 (13.7 %) were aware of their diagnosis and all these participants had initiated therapy with target blood pressure control attained in 20 % of treated subjects. Hypertension was significantly associated with the older age-group, male sex and obesity. There was a significantly lower prevalence of hypertension among participants with HIV OR 0.6 (95 % CI 0.4–0.8, P = 0.007).
There is a high prevalence of high blood pressure in this young periurban population of Uganda with sub-optimal diagnosis and control. There is previously undocumented high rate of treatment, a unique finding that may be exploited to drive efforts to control hypertension. Specific programs for early diagnosis and treatment of hypertension among the young should be developed to improve control of hypertension. The relationship between HIV infection and blood pressure requires further clarification by longitudinal studies.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12889-015-2146-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4552375  PMID: 26315787
2.  Early mortality and functional outcome after acute stroke in Uganda: prospective study with 30 day follow-up 
SpringerPlus  2015;4:450.
Identification of early outcomes post stroke and their predictors is important in stroke management strategies. We prospectively analysed 30-day outcomes (mortality and functional ability) after stroke and their predictors among patients admitted within 7 days post event to a national referral hospital in Uganda. This was a prospective study of acute stroke patients consecutively enrolled between February and July 2014. Social demographics, clinical, laboratory, imaging characteristics, outcomes (all through 30 days), time of death were assessed using standardised questionnaires. Multiple regression was used to analyse the independent influence of factors on outcomes. Of 127 patients, 88 (69.3 %) had ischemic stroke and 39 (30.7 %) had hemorrhagic stroke. Eight (6.3 %) died within 7 days, 34 (26.8 %) died within 30 days, with 2/3 of deaths occurring in hospital. Two were lost to follow up. Of 91 survivors, 49 (53.9 %) had satisfactory outcome, 42 (46.1 %) had poor functional outcome. At multivariate analysis, independent predictors of mortality at 30 days were unconsciousness (GCS <9), severe stroke at admission and elevated fasting blood sugar. None of the patients with functional independence (Barthel index ≥60) at admission died within 30 days. Inverse independent predictors of satisfactory outcome at 30 days were older age, history of hypertension and severe stroke at admission. Acute stroke patients in Uganda still have high rates of early mortality and poor functional outcomes. Independent predictors of mortality and poor functional outcome were severe stroke at admission, unconsciousness, high fasting blood sugar, old age and history of hypertension.
PMCID: PMC4547979  PMID: 26322256
Death; Function; Outcome; Stroke
3.  Incidence and Risk Factors for Delirium among Mechanically Ventilated Patients in an African Intensive Care Setting: An Observational Multicenter Study 
Aim. Delirium is common among mechanically ventilated patients in the intensive care unit (ICU). There are little data regarding delirium among mechanically ventilated patients in Africa. We sought to determine the burden of delirium and associated factors in Uganda. Methods. We conducted a multicenter prospective study among mechanically ventilated patients in Uganda. Eligible patients were screened daily for delirium using the confusional assessment method (CAM-ICU). Comparisons were made using t-test, chi-squares, and Fisher's exact test. Predictors were assessed using logistic regression. The level of statistical significance was set at P < 0.05. Results. Of 160 patients, 81 (51%) had delirium. Median time to onset of delirium was 3.7 days. At bivariate analysis, history of mental illness, sedation, multiorgan dysfunction, neurosurgery, tachypnea, low mean arterial pressure, oliguria, fevers, metabolic acidosis, respiratory acidosis, anaemia, physical restraints, marital status, and endotracheal tube use were significant predictors. At multivariable analysis, having a history of mental illness, sedation, respiratory acidosis, higher PEEP, endotracheal tubes, and anaemia predicted delirium. Conclusion. The prevalence of delirium in a young African population is lower than expected considering the high mortality. A history of mental illness, anaemia, sedation, endotracheal tube use, and respiratory acidosis were factors associated with delirium.
PMCID: PMC4402173  PMID: 25945257
4.  Knowledge and Perception of Stroke: A Population-Based Survey in Uganda 
ISRN stroke  2014;2014:10.1155/2014/309106.
This study, designed to complement a large population survey on prevalence of stroke risk factors, assessed knowledge and perception of stroke and associated factors.
A population survey was conducted in urban Nansana and rural Busukuma, Wakiso district, central Uganda. Adult participants selected by multistage stratified sampling were interviewed about selected aspects of stroke knowledge and perception in a pretested structured questionnaire.
There were 1616 participants (71.8% urban; 68.4% female; mean age: 39.6 years ± 15.3). Nearly 3/4 did not know any stroke risk factors and warning signs or recognize the brain as the organ affected. Going to hospital (85.2%) was their most preferred response to a stroke event. Visiting herbalists/traditional healers was preferred by less than 1%. At multivariable logistic regression, good knowledge of stroke warning signs and risk factors was associated with tertiary level of education (OR 4.29, 95% CI 2.13–8.62 and OR 5.96, 95% CI 2.94–12.06), resp.) and self-reported diabetes (OR 1.97, 95% CI 1.18–3.32 and OR 1.84, 95% CI 1.04–3.25), resp.).
Knowledge about stroke in Uganda is poor although the planned response to a stroke event was adequate. Educational strategies to increase stroke knowledge are urgently needed as a prelude to developing preventive programmes.
PMCID: PMC4156791  PMID: 25202472
5.  Utility of Transthoracic Echocardiography and Carotid Doppler Ultrasound in Differential Diagnosis and Management of Ischemic Stroke in a Developing Country 
We sought to describe findings, diagnostic yield, cost effectiveness of transthoracic echocardiography (TEE) and Carotid doppler ultrasound (CDU) in ischemic stroke.
Cross sectional study at Mulago hospital, Uganda. Institutional ethical approval, patient consent was obtained. Patients eighteen years and above with ischemic stroke confirmed by brain computerized tomography (CT) scan and met inclusion criteria were selected. TTE and CDU were done as part of comprehensive assessment for stroke risk factors. Data was analyzed using SPSS 14. Univariate analysis was done for social-demographics, abnormalities on cardiac imaging and diagnostic yield using TOAST criteria. Bivariate analysis for association between stroke risk factors, cardio-embolic stroke and other ischemic subtypes (diagnosed using clinical and CT scan features). Statistical significance was set at P<0.05.
Of 139 screened patients with suspected stroke, 127 underwent brain CT scan as 12 died before CT. Eighty five were confirmed stroke by CT scan with 66 (77.6%) ischemic stroke, mean age 62 years (SD+16.6), 53% were male. Out of 66, 62 (93.9%) underwent both TTE and CDU. Although only 7 (11.3%) reported history of heart disease, 43 (69.3%) had abnormal findings on TTE with left atrial enlargement commonest in 21 (48.8%). Thirty eight (61.3%) had abnormal finding on CDU with atherosclerosis commonest in 28 (45.2%). Using clinical and CT scan features, atherosclerotic stroke was the commonest subtype in 29 (46.8%) then cardio-embolic 18 (27.3%). Only 6 (9.7%) patients had abnormal findings on TTE suggesting possible cardio-embolism by TOAST criteria. None had stenosis >50% on CDU. Multiple valvular lesions P<0.001, severe valvular lesions P=0.001 were associated with cardio-embolic stroke.
Majority of ischemic stroke patients without previous history of heart disease had abnormal findings on TTE and CDU. Diagnostic yield for cardio-embolic stroke by TOAST criteria was very low given the high cost involved for a developing country.
PMCID: PMC3990005  PMID: 24749127
Cardio-embolism; Doppler; Echocardiography; Ischemic; Stroke; Transthoracic; Ultrasound
6.  National intensive care unit bed capacity and ICU patient characteristics in a low income country 
BMC Research Notes  2012;5:475.
Primary health care delivery in the developing world faces many challenges. Priority setting favours HIV, TB and malaria interventions. Little is known about the challenges faced in this setting with regard to critical care medicine. The aim of this study was to analyse and categorise the diagnosis and outcomes of 1,774 patients admitted to a hospital intensive care unit (ICU) in a low-income country over a 7-year period. We also assessed the country’s ICU bed capacity and described the challenges faced in dealing with critically ill patients in this setting.
A retrospective audit was conducted in a general ICU in a university hospital in Uganda. Demographic data, admission diagnosis, and ICU length of stay were recorded for the 1,774 patients who presented to the ICU in the period January 2003 to December 2009. Their mean age was 35.5 years. Males accounted for 56.5% of the study population; 92.8% were indigenous, and 42.9% were referrals from upcountry units. The average mortality rate over the study period was 40.1% (n = 715). The highest mortality rate (44%) was recorded in 2004 and the lowest (33.2%) in 2005. Children accounted for 11.6% of admissions (40.1% mortality). Sepsis, ARDS, traumatic brain injuries and HIV related conditions were the most frequent admission diagnoses. A telephonic survey determined that there are 33 adult ICU beds in the whole country.
Mortality was 40.1%, with sepsis, head injury, acute lung injury and HIV/AIDS the most common admission diagnoses. The country has a very low ICU bed capacity. Prioritising infectious diseases poses a challenge to ensuring that critical care is an essential part of the health care package in Uganda.
PMCID: PMC3470976  PMID: 22937769
Intensive care medicine; Diagnosis; Uganda; Low-income country; Mortality

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