Heart failure convention in Egypt sheds light on alarming facts

Ingy Deif, Thursday 9 Oct 2014

Recent studies reveal that Egyptians are at high risk from heart failure. Statistics, causes, treatment breakthroughs, and the importance of more awareness were discussed at a recent convention in Alexandria

Photo: Reuters

Over 400 experts from all over the world participated in the 16th conference for the Egyptian Society of Cardiology (ESC), which was held in Alexandria at the beginning of the October.

The experts shed light on alarming facts regarding those who fall victim to heart failure, in Egypt, and worldwide.

Heart failure is more common than we can imagine. It affects one in every five persons around the globe.

In Egypt, the risks are notably higher.

According to a study that was carried out by ESC and the European Society for Cardiology on more than twenty medical centers all over Egypt for two years, and in which around 2,145 patients participated, heart failure affects Egyptians 10 to 13 years younger than their counterparts in Europe for example.

Dr Mahmoud Hassanein, Professor of Cardiology at Alexandria University talked about further results from the study. "The most important risk factors were illnesses that affect the heart like angina and heat attacks, diabetes, high blood pressure, and last but not least, smoking, where almost 60 percent of patients tuned out to have been smokers," he says.

Hassanein also said that males are twice as likely as females to have a heart condition.

Dr Hesham Abu El-Enein, Head of Cardiology at Banha University, shed more light on facts regarding the condition:

  • It is a critical condition that leaves the heart unable to pump blood around the body. It occurs when the muscle becomes too stiff or weakens
  • Most common with heart failure are swollen limbs, severe breathlessness, and recurrent hospitalisation, all of which leave the patient's life and work deeply affected
  • It affects 26 million people around the world
  • It costs the world economy $45 billion each year

"Heart failure has severe consequences causing more deaths than some of the most advanced cancers such as breast and bowel cancer," added Dr Magdy Abdel-Hamid, Professor of Cardiology at Cairo University.

He said that 50 percent of hospitalised heart failure patients are at risk of death within five years of diagnosis.

The panel shed light on the latest breakthroughs announced at the latest international heart congresses, that can curb death risk from heart failure by 20 percent, and reduce hospitalisation by 21 percent.

According to Dr Omar Awad, Professor of Cardiology at Ain Shams University, the new treatments improve the quality of life of the person while reducing the death risk, as the work on enhancing the protective neurohormonal system of the heart while suppressing harmful receptors at the same time.

Although the panel said that the new treatments are still not available in the market, they stressed that they present a breakthrough that eventually will bring hope to millions of sufferers, and that it is very important to launch more campaigns among Egyptians to raise awareness regarding early detection and potential causes, to reduce complication and thereby the mortality rate.

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