Purpose of review
Pulmonary hypertension is a deadly disease, the causes of which vary between geographical regions. Eighty four percentage of the world's population lives in majority countries (also called low-income and middle-income countries), yet data on pulmonary hypertension in these settings are proportionally scarce. This article provides a review of pulmonary hypertension in majority countries, focusing in detail on the most common causes in these regions, and highlights contextual challenges faced.
Epidemiological data confirms a complex and overlapping array of causes, with pulmonary hypertension because of conditions such as rheumatic heart disease, HIV, schistosomiasis, chronic lung disease and sickle cell disease. Delayed pulmonary hypertension diagnosis remains a concern and is ascribed to a lack of resources and lack of pulmonary hypertension awareness by health professionals. Pulmonary hypertension diagnosis is frequently considered once signs of right heart failure emerge, while echocardiography and right heart catheterization are unavailable in many settings. Accurate data on the prevalence of pulmonary hypertension in many of these regions are needed and could be achieved by establishing and frequent review of national databases where the incident and prevalent pulmonary hypertension cases are captured.
There is urgent need for pulmonary hypertension advocacy among clinicians in the primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare sectors of majority countries, and validated noninvasive diagnostic algorithms are needed. Increased awareness and early diagnosis are likely to improve outcomes of pulmonary hypertension patients in these regions, and potentially stimulate locally relevant research.