Spectrum of congenital heart disease in a tropical environment: an echocardiography study

J Natl Med Assoc. 2007 Jun;99(6):665-9.


Echocardiography is a major mode of cardiovascular imaging with versatile applications. Modern two-dimensional echocordiographic techniques provide a comprehensive means for evaluating virtually all forms of congenital heart disease (CHD) found in both adults and children. CHD is an abnormality in cardiocirculatory structure or function that is present at birth, even if it is discovered much later. We set out to describe the spectrum of CHD using echocardiography in two centers in Kano, northern Nigeria. In this retrospective study, transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) data collected from two echocardiography laboratories in Kano over a period of 48 months (June 2002 to May 2006) were reviewed. Patients with diagnosis of congenital heart disease were selected. Information obtained from the records included the age, gender, clinical diagnosis and echocardiographic findings. One-hundred-twenty-two patients had CHD, making 9.3% of the 1312 patients with abnormal echocardiograms. There were 73 males and 49 females (ratio 1.5:1); and their ages ranged from nine days to 35 years. Forty-one (33.6%) children presented for echocardiography before the age of one year, and 69% presented before the age of five years. Thirteen (10.6%) were > or =18 years. Ventricular septal defect (VSD) was the most common echocardiographic diagnosis present in 56 patients (45.9%). Thirty-two (26.2%) had tetralogy of Fallot, and 15 (12.3%) had atrial septal defect (ASD). Ten (8.2%) had endocardial cushion defect, and nine (7.4%) had other congenital heart abnormalities. Coarctation of the aorta and aortic stenosis were rare. CHD is a common cardiovascular problem in our setting, and a number of patients were diagnosed in adulthood. With increasing availability of echocardiographic facilities, more cases of CHD are likely to be identified early.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Geography
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / diagnostic imaging*
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / epidemiology
  • Heart Septal Defects, Ventricular / diagnostic imaging
  • Heart Septal Defects, Ventricular / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Nigeria / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Distribution
  • Tropical Medicine*
  • Ultrasonography