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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 27-36

Rheumatic heart disease in Nigeria: A review

1 Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria
2 Department of Paediatrics, University of Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria
3 Department of Chemical Pathology, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria
4 Department of Paediatrics, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria
5 Department of Internal Medicine, Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia, Abia State, Nigeria
6 Department of Medicine, Bayero University, Kano, Kano State, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Okechukwu S Ogah
Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, University of Ibadan/ University College Hospital, P.O Box 14343 ,UI Post Office Ibadan, Oyo State
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/njc.njc_30_19

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Rheumatic heart disease (RHD) is a major public health problem in resource-poor countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa where about 1 million affected children between 5 and 14 years of age live with the disease. The aim of this paper is to review current knowledge on the clinical epidemiology of RHD in Nigeria, identify gaps, and suggest possible future directions. A systematic literature search was conducted using African Journal online (AJOL), Cinahl, Google Scholar, PubMed, and Web of Science. In PubMed, the following medical subject headings and free text terms were used: “Rheumatic heart disease” OR “Rheumatic “Valvular heart disease” OR “Rheumatic fever” AND “Nigeria”. The same text word search was used in Google scholar, AJOL, CINAHL, and Web of Science. A search date was limited to articles published from January 1950 to December, 2018. A total of 44 original studies were reviewed. Nineteen (45.2%) of the studies used clinical criteria for diagnosis of RHD, 19 (40.5%) used echocardiographic diagnosis, and 6 (14.3%) used autopsy or post mortem examination of the patients for the diagnosis of RHD. Five (11.9%) of the studies were conducted in children only, 9 (16.7%) were in both children and adults, and the remaining 31 (73.8%) were done in adults only. Only 6 (14.3%) of the studies reported complications seen in patients with RHD. Of the 6 studies that reported on complications, only 1 reported on recurrent of acute rheumatic fever. Mitral valvular disease was the most common lesion reported in all the studies. RHD still remains a major cardiovascular health problem in Nigeria. There is therefore a need for more recent clinical studies on the contemporary pattern of RHD in Nigeria. In addition, community based screening for RHD is needed to determine the true burden of the disease in Nigeria. Finally, primary and secondary preventive measures are needed to help reduce the burden of RHD in Nigeria.

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