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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 3-14

Prevalence and epidemiological pattern of abdominal aortic aneurysms in Africa: A systematic review

1 University of Oxford, Department of Surgical Sciences, John Radcliffe Hospital OX3, 9DU Oxford, United Kingdom
2 University of Witwatersrand, Department of Surgery, Private Bag X2600, Houghton, Johannesburg, South Africa

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Ngetich E
Department of Surgical Sciences, University of Oxford, John Radcliffe Hospital OX3, 9DU Oxford.
United Kingdom
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jwas.jwas_15_21

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Introduction: The incidence of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) in high-income countries has been declining in the last three decades. However, in most low-income and middle-income countries especially in Africa, little is known about its burden. The absence of screening services for AAA in African countries makes it difficult to detect and promptly manage AAA before rupture, which has significant implications for mortality. This study sought to systematically assess the prevalence of AAA amongst patients visiting hospitals in Africa and evaluate its epidemiological pattern. Materials and Methods: A systematic review was performed on the EMBASE, GLOBAL HEALTH, MEDLINE, and PUBMED databases. The review was conducted according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses statement standards and protocol registered with PROSPERO (CRD42020162214). A data extraction tool was used to get relevant information from these studies. Quality assessment and risk of bias were performed using the Newcastle Ottawa Scale for cross-sectional studies. Results were summarised in tables, figures, and a forest plot. A narrative synthesis approach of the articles was taken. Results: Two hundred and sixty-one studies were identified and after the exclusion of 246, a final 15 were deemed suitable for analysis. A total of 4012 participants were screened for AAA and of these, 129 cases were identified. The prevalence of AAA in these studies ranged from 0.7 to 6.4%. Male participants accounted for 115 (89.1%) of the cases. There was a wide age range (31–72 years) reflective of both its possible infective and degenerative aetiology. AAA was reported to be associated with hypertension, smoking, advanced age, coronary artery disease, and HIV infection. There was no association between AAA and diabetes. Over 50% of cases were identified incidentally. About one-third (23–54%) of the participants presented aortic rupture with a mortality rate ranging between 65 and 72%. Conclusions: AAA prevalence in Africa is probably higher than the current thinking as there is no baseline data to compare with. Aetiologically, AAA was shown to be associated with hypertension, smoking, coronary artery disease, and possibly infectious pathologies like HIV. Large epidemiological studies would help better characterise AAA in this setting. Lastly, efforts targeting the reduction of the risk factors for AAA would go a long way in reducing the burden of AAA.

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