Cardiac surgery publications in Africa over the last 20 years: A literature review

  • Yihan Lin 1. Department of Surgery, University of Colorado, Denver, Colorado, USA; 2. Program in Global Surgery and Social Change, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; 3. Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, University of Colorado, Denver, Colorado, USA https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1475-1003
  • Brian M. Till 1. Program in Global Surgery and Social Change, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; 2. College of Medicine, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont, USA https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9316-2740
  • Sojung Yi 1. Program in Global Surgery and Social Change, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; 2. George Washington School of Medicine, Washington, Washington DC, USA https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8163-5053
  • James S. Dahm 1. Program in Global Surgery and Social Change, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; 2. School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, USA https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7954-5713
  • Kathryn Taylor 1. Program in Global Surgery and Social Change, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; 2. Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1889-3188
  • Nguyen Lu School of Medicine, University of Colorado, Denver, Colorado, USA https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8701-5197
  • Peter Zilla Chris Barnard Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9502-4109
  • Ralph M. Bolman Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, University of Colorado, Denver, Colorado, USA https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8824-9921
Keywords: cardiac research, collaboration, mortality, cardiovascular, cardiothoracic surgery

Abstract

There is a significant burden of surgically correctable cardiovascular disease in Africa. The goal of this research was to review the last 20 years of literature on this topic. A systematic search was performed using PubMed, Embase and African Index Medicus for the period 1996–2016. Publications came from 29 countries, all of different income brackets. Research output increased by 15-fold over the 20-year time period, with the majority of publications authored by local teams (71.4%) compared to visiting (4.9%) and mixed teams (23.7%). Although increasing, clinical reporting on cardiac surgery is still limited. Increased publication of results should be encouraged to better benchmark capacity and improve research capacity.

Significance:

  • The majority of the cardiovascular publications came from local research teams affiliated with public hospitals which suggests strong local engagement in research and cardiovascular care.
  • Research output significantly increased and the share of literature from major research contributors has relatively shrunk over the study period, which suggests emerging research capacities from previously underrepresented regions.
  • A demographic analysis of publications showed that studies were set in countries from all income brackets, with the majority of the studies originating from low-income countries.
  • There is a need to standardise reporting of surgical outcomes which is dependent on perioperative care and maintenance of high-quality health records.
  • Over half of the publications lacked evidence of outpatient follow-up or data on postoperative care, which highlights the need to focus on patient outcomes as a metric.
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Published
2020-01-29