Causes and clinical characteristics of chronic cor-pulmonale in Ethiopia

  • G Aderaye Head, Chest Unit, Department of Internal Medicine, Addis Ababa University, P.O. Box 2380, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia


Objective: To determine the clinical characteristics and underlying causes of chronic cor-pulmonale in Ethiopian patients.

Design: A hospital based cross-sectional study.

Setting: Tikur Anbessa Hospital, a large referral hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Subjects: Fourty two consecutive patients referred to the chest clinic of Tikur Anbessa Hospital, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Results: Bronchial asthma (36%), chronic fibrocavitary tuberculosis (31%) and chronic bronchitis/emphysema (33%) were the most frequent underlying causes and occurred either singly or in combination in 36(86%) of patients. Interstitial lung disease occurred in five (11.9%) patients. Right-sided heart failure and cyanosis were the most common clinical presentations. Secondary polycythemia was noted in 32 of 40 patients (80%). The role of pulmonary vascular diseases including pulmonary schistosomiasis as a cause of pulmonary heart disease could not be ascertained but appeared to be insignificant.

Conclusion: Chronic persistent asthma is a frequent underlying cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and chronic cor-pulmonale compared to smoking related chronic bronchitis/emphysema in Ethiopia. The preventive strategy of chronic corpulmonale includes optimal treatment of bronchial asthma, early diagnosis and effective treatment of tuberculosis and health education to avoid cigarette smoking.

East African Medical Journal Vol. 81 No. 4 April 2004: 202-206

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eISSN: 0012-835X