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1.  Utility of Transthoracic Echocardiography and Carotid Doppler Ultrasound in Differential Diagnosis and Management of Ischemic Stroke in a Developing Country 
Objective
We sought to describe findings, diagnostic yield, cost effectiveness of transthoracic echocardiography (TEE) and Carotid doppler ultrasound (CDU) in ischemic stroke.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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
2.  National intensive care unit bed capacity and ICU patient characteristics in a low income country 
BMC Research Notes  2012;5:475.
Background
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.
Findings
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-475
PMCID: PMC3470976  PMID: 22937769
Intensive care medicine; Diagnosis; Uganda; Low-income country; Mortality

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