Common echocardiographic abnormalities in Nigerians of different age groups
Background: Transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) is one of the most commonly performed cardiac investigations. It can provide comprehensive information about cardiac structure and function, helping to establish a diagnosis and guide therapy, and it is no longer the preserve of the specialist cardiology department. Previous studies on echocardiographic findings in our environment had documented valvular heart disease, hypertensive heart disease and congenital heart diseases as the commonest echocardiographic findings in Nigerians.
Aims: The study aimed to provide an update on the common echocardiographic findings in different age groups in this part of the world, since some of the previous similar studies were done over a decade ago.
Materials and Methods: We reviewed the echocardiogram reports of 608 consecutive patients done from July 2009 to October 2011 at a private echocardiographic laboratory in Enugu, South-East Nigeria. Data was analyzed for age, gender and echocardiographic findings.
Results: The age range of the patients was from 3 days to 98 years with a mean age of 46.4 ± 21.4 years. The mean age of the males was 47.6 ± 21.3 years, while the mean age of the females was 45.2 ± 21.1 years. The commonest echocardiographic abnormality in children was atrial septal defect, while rheumatic heart disease was the commonest in adolescents and young adults. Left ventricular diastolic dysfunction and degenerative valvular diseases respectively were the commonest in the middle-aged and elderly populations in this study.
Conclusion: This study has reaffirmed rheumatic heart disease (predominantly mitral valve regurgitation) as the commonest cardiac abnormality in adolescents and young adults. Degenerative valvular diseases, left ventricular diastolic dysfunction, and atrial septal defects were the commonest abnormalities in the elderly, middle-aged population and children, respectively.
Key words: Different age groups, echocardiographic abnormalities, Nigerians