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Journal of Hypertension:
doi: 10.1097/HJH.0b013e328362bad7
ORIGINAL PAPERS: Epidemiology

Hypertension-related diseases as a common cause of hospital mortality in Tanzania: a 3-year prospective study

Peck, Robert N.a,b,c; Green, Ethand; Mtabaji, Jacobe; Majinge, Charlesf; Smart, Luke R.a,b,c; Downs, Jennifer A.a,b,c; Fitzgerald, Daniel W.c

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Abstract

Objective:

Hypertension is believed to be an increasingly common driver of the epidemic of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in sub-Saharan Africa, but prospective data are scarce. The objective of this prospective study was to determine the contribution of hypertension to deaths, admissions, and hospital days at a Tanzanian zonal hospital.

Methods:

Between 2009 and 2011, diagnoses were recorded for all medical admissions together with age, sex, length of hospitalization and in-hospital mortality.

Results:

Among 11 045 consecutive admissions, NCDs accounted for nearly half of all deaths, admissions, and hospital days. Among NCDs, hypertension-related diseases were the most common and accounted for 314 (33.9%) of the total NCD deaths, 1611 (29.9%) of the NCD admissions, and 12 837 (27.8%) NCD hospital days. Stroke (167 deaths) was the leading cause of hypertension-related death. Hypertension was the leading cause of death in patients over the age of 50 years and 57% of hypertension-related deaths occurred in patients less than 65 years old.

Conclusion:

NCDs account for half of all deaths, admissions and hospital days at our Tanzanian hospital and hypertension-related diseases were the most common NCD. Hypertension accounted for 34% of NCD deaths and 15% of all deaths. Hypertension was the second most common cause of death overall and the leading cause of death in patients more than 50 years old. More than half of hypertension-related deaths occurred before retirement age. These findings have important implications for public health and medical education in sub-Saharan Africa, wherein hypertension and related diseases have not traditionally been given a high priority.

© 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

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