The extent of congenital heart disease in Cameroon remains largely unknown. The aim of this study was to determine the occurrence and pattern of congenital heart diseases in the Cardiac Centre of St Elizabeth Catholic General Hospital, situated in a rural area of Cameroon.
Methods: Between November 2002 and November 2008, a population of 2 123 patients with suspected cardiac pathologies were consulted at St Elizabeth Catholic General Hospital referral cardiac centre. Of these patients, 292 subjects were recruited for the study, based on detection of (1) precordial murmurs and/or cardiomegaly on chest X-ray examination, or (2) congenital heart diseases on transthoracic Doppler echocardiography examination.
Results: Congenital heart diseases and inorganic murmurs were found in 95.5 and 4.5% of the patients, respectively. Congenital heart diseases included tetralogy of Fallot (26.1%), isolated ventricular septal defect (38.8%), atrioventricular cushion defect (7.3%), isolated atrial septal defect (2.8%), arterial duct cases (12.4%), common arterial trunk (1.3%), isolated stenosis of the pulmonary artery (2.6%), coarctation of the aorta (1.1%), congenital mitral valve regurgitation (1.2%), atresia of the triscupid valve (1.6%), double-outlet right ventricle (2.1%), anomalous pulmonary venous return (1.5%) and left isomerism (1.2%).
Conclusion: Our data show that there is a high occurrence of congenital heart disease in this hospital in a rural zone of sub-Saharan Africa and that isolated ventricular septal defect is the predominant pathology. Post-surgical follow up remains very challenging as many parents cannot afford their children's medical treatment or are generally not well educated.