Risk Factors and Prevalence of Dilated Cardiomyopathy in Sub-Saharan Africa: Protocol for a Systematic Review

JMIR Res Protoc. 2021 Jan 21;10(1):e18229. doi: 10.2196/18229.


Background: Cardiomyopathies, defined as diseases involving mainly the heart muscles, are linked to an estimated 5.9 of 100,000 deaths globally. In sub-Saharan Africa, cardiomyopathies constitute 21.4% of heart failure cases, with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) being the most common form. The etiology of DCM is heterogeneous and is broadly categorized as genetic or nongenetic, as well as a mixed disease in which genetics interact with intrinsic and environmental factors. Factors such as age, gender, family history, and ethnicity are nonmodifiable, whereas modifiable risk factors include poor nutrition, physical inactivity, and excessive alcohol consumption, among others. However, the relative contribution of the different risk factors to the etiology of DCM is not known in sub-Saharan Africa, and the prevalence of DCM among heart failure patients has not been systematically studied in the region.

Objective: The aim of this review is to synthesize available literature from sub-Saharan Africa on the prevalence of DCM among patients with heart failure, as well as the literature on factors associated with DCM. This paper outlines the protocol that will be followed to conduct the systematic review.

Methods: A limited search of the PubMed database will be performed to identify relevant keywords contained in the title, abstract, and subject descriptors using initial search terms "heart failure," "cardiomyopathy," and "sub-Saharan Africa." These search terms and their synonyms will then be used in an extensive search in PubMed, and will address the first research question on prevalence. To address the second research question on risk factors, the terms "heart failure," "cardiomyopathy," and "cardiovascular risk factors" in "Sub-Saharan Africa" will be used, listing them one by one. Articles published from 2000 and in the English language will be included. Indexed articles in PubMed and Embase will be included, as well as the first 300 articles retrieved from a Google Scholar search. Collected data will be organized in Endnote and then uploaded to the Rayyan web app for systematic reviews. Two reviewers will independently select articles against the inclusion criteria. Discrepancies in reviewer selections will be resolved by an arbitrator. PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) guidelines for reporting systematic reviews will be applied. A map of sub-Saharan Africa with colors to show disease prevalence in each country will be included. For quantitative data, where possible, odds ratios (for categorical outcome data) or standardized mean differences (for continuous data) and their 95% CIs will be calculated.

Results: The primary outcomes will be the prevalence of DCM among patients with heart failure and cardiovascular risk factors associated with DCM in sub-Saharan Africa. The literature search will begin on January 1, 2021, and data analysis is expected to be completed by April 30, 2021.

Conclusions: This review will provide information on the current status of the prevalence and associated factors of DCM, and possibly identify gaps, including paucity of data or conflicting results that need to be addressed to improve our understanding of DCM in sub-Saharan Africa.

International registered report identifier (irrid): PRR1-10.2196/18229.

Keywords: cardiomyopathy; cardiovascular risk factors; dilated cardiomyopathy; heart failure; sub-Saharan Africa.