Although rheumatic heart disease remains the leading cause of valve heart disease (VHD) in developing countries, other forms of valve disease have been over shadowed and not regarded as a public health problem. However, several facts suggest that the role of non-rheumatic VHD as a significant cardiovascular disease should be reconsidered. We aimed to assess the prevalence and characteristics of different forms of primary left sided valve diseases from a series of 15,009 echocardiographic studies.
This was a retrospective review of echocardiographic reports for studies performed between January 2012 and December 2013 (24 months) at Uganda Heart Institute. All patients with primary left-sided valve disease were classified into one of five major diagnostic categories and in each diagnostic category; patients were sub-classified into stages A-D of primary valve disease as defined by the American College of Cardiology.
Three thousand five hundred eighty-two echocardiography reports qualified for final data analysis. The “sclerotic valve changes with normal valve function”, a Stage A sub-class of “degenerative valve disease” overwhelmingly overshadowed all the other diagnostic categories in this stage. “Rheumatic Heart Disease”, “Degenerative Valve Disease”, “Bicuspid Aortic Valve”, “Mitral Valve Prolapse” and “Endomyocardial Fibrosis” diagnostic categories accounted for 53.0%, 41.8%, 2.2%, 1.4% and 1.7% respectively in stages B-D of primary VHD. Rheumatic heart disease disproportionately affected the young, productive age groups. It was the major risk factor for infective endocarditis; and was the indication for valve surgery in 44 of 50 patients who had undergone valve replacement procedures.
We acknowledge that rheumatic heart disease remains a leading cause of progressive and severe primary left-sided valve disease among young adults in Uganda. But we bring to light the contemporary footprints of other forms of primary valve disease that require coordinated multidisciplinary approach to research, education and clinical management to ensure improved patient outcomes.