Prevalence and clinical spectrum of hypertensive retinopathy among hypertension clinic patients at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Malawi
Prevalence and spectrum of hypertensive retinopathy in the population reflects the status of hypertension control and the associated risks for cardiovascular events. We investigated the prevalence and clinical spectrum of hypertensive retinopathy among patients attending hypertension clinic at a tertiary hospital in Malawi.
This was a cross-sectional study of systematically selected patients attending hypertension clinic at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital. Patient interviews using a structured questionnaire and review of patients’ medical records (health passports) were done to obtain the following information: demographics, duration since the diagnosis of hypertension, history of stroke and blood pressure measurements. The presence and severity of hypertensive retinopathy was determined by dilated fundoscopy through slit lamp biomicroscopy.
We recruited 104 patients. Women outnumbered men by 3:1. Women tended to be younger compared to men (mean ages 54 and 61 years respectively). Of the surveyed patients, 80% had sub-optimal blood pressure control and 75% had evidence of hypertensive retinopathy. History of stroke was associated with hypertensive retinopathy.
Hypertensive retinopathy is very common in patients attending the hypertension clinic at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, Malawi. This may be a reflection of sub-optimal blood pressure control in this patient population. There is a need to identify the actual reasons, rectify them and intensify intervention in control of hypertension in this patient population.