Publications by authors named "Fred Stephen Sarfo"

91 Publications

Factors associated with incidence of stroke and heart failure among people living with HIV in Ghana: Evaluating Vascular Event Risk while on Long-Term Antiretroviral Suppressive Therapy (EVERLAST) Study.

J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich) 2021 May 3. Epub 2021 May 3.

University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA.

People living with HIV (PLWH) have a two-fold higher risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) compared with HIV-negative populations. Although 70% of the global HIV population reside in Africa, data on CVD outcomes among PLWH are scarce. We seek to evaluate factors associated with incidence of stroke and heart failure in a prospective cohort of Ghanaian PLWH. We followed up a cohort of PLWH on antiretroviral therapy for 12 months to assess rates of clinically adjudicated stroke, and heart failure. We calculated incidence rates of events/1000 person-years and fitted Cox proportional hazards regression models to identify factors associated with incident stroke and heart failure as a combined outcome measure and as separate outcome measures. Among 255 participants, the mean age was 46 years and 211 (82.7%) were female. The participants contributed 245 years of follow-up data with mean follow-up duration of 11.5 months. There were three incident strokes giving an incidence rate of 12.24 per 1000 person-years (95% CI: 3.13-33.33) and two heart failure events with an incidence rate of 8.16 (95%CI: 1.37-26.97) per 1000 py. The combined event rate was 20.41 (95% CI: 7.48-45.24) per 1000 py. Being hypertensive was associated with aHR of 8.61 (1.32-56.04) of the combined outcome while each 100 cells/mm rise in CD4 count was associated with aHR of 0.56 (0.35-0.88). Carotid bulb intimal media thickness was independently associated with stroke occurrence with aHR of 12.23 (1.28-117.07). People living with HIV on long-term cART in this Ghanaian sample have high rates of clinically adjudicated cardiovascular diseases driven by uncontrolled hypertension and persisting immunosuppression. Integration of CVD care into routine HIV management may help alleviate this untoward confluence of rising CVDs among PLWH.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jch.14255DOI Listing
May 2021

Atherosclerotic event risk and risk reduction therapies among Ghanaian hemorrhagic stroke survivors.

J Neurol Sci 2021 May 10;424:117389. Epub 2021 Mar 10.

Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco, USA.

Background: Intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) stroke constitute up to 40% of incident strokes in Africa. While ICH patients are at high risk for atherosclerotic events, the risk-benefit of anti-atherosclerotic therapies in this patient population is uncertain.

Purpose: To assess whether utility of statins and/or antithrombotic agents after surviving an ICH correlates with atherosclerotic risk of an observational cohort.

Methods: We analyzed data in a stroke registry prospectively collected on consecutively encountered stroke survivors seen at an out-patient clinic in Ghana between January 2018 and March 2020. We collected baseline demographic and clinical details, including diagnosis of ICH, co-morbidities, and key atherosclerotic risk reduction therapies (statins and anti-platelet drugs). We computed ischemic vascular risk using the Framingham Risk Score (FRS) to classify patients into low, intermediate and high vascular risk.

Results: Of 1101 stroke survivors seen during the period, 244 (22.2%) had ICH. Vascular risk profiles were low (n = 86; 35.2%), intermediate (n = 71; 29.1%) and high (n = 87; 35.7%). Utility of statin use was 76.7% (low risk), 84.5% (intermediate risk), and 87.4% (high risk), p = 0.16 while antiplatelet use trended with atherosclerotic risk being 9.3% (low risk), 25.4% (intermediate risk), and high risk (34.5%), p = 0.0004. Independent factors associated with statin use were hypertension (OR 8.80; 95% CI: 2.34-33.11) and cigarette smoking (OR 0.29; 95% CI: 0.09-0.89) while antiplatelet drug use was associated with age (OR 1.43; 95% CI: 1.06-1.92) and time from index stroke (OR: 1.02; 95% CI: 1.01-1.02).

Conclusion: Approximately two-thirds of ICH survivors in this African sample had intermediate to high risk of future atherosclerotic events. Clinical trials on the timing, safety, and efficacy of statins and antiplatelet drugs among ICH survivors could help better guide risk mitigation in this population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jns.2021.117389DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8096689PMC
May 2021

Prevalence and Predictors of Multivitamin Supplement Use After Stroke in Ghana.

J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis 2021 Mar 18;30(6):105735. Epub 2021 Mar 18.

Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco, USA.

Background: Multivitamins are commonly used supplements in high income countries, but their net benefit-risk, remains inconclusive. Little is known about the prevalence and predictors of multivitamin supplementation among individual with chronic illnesses in sub-Saharan Africa, especially stroke.

Purpose: To assess the frequency and factors associated with of use of multivitamin supplement among stroke survivors in Ghana.

Methods: We analyzed prospectively collected data on consecutively encountered stroke survivors seen at an out-patient clinic in Ghana between January 2018 and March 2020. We collected baseline demographic and clinical details, and use of multivitamins among other secondary prevention medications prescribed. We assessed factors associated with multivitamin supplementation using a multivariable logistic regression analysis.

Results: Among 1,101 stroke survivors, 324 (29.4%) were on multivitamin supplements. Factors independently associated with multivitamin use were being divorced (OR 2.88; 95% CI: 1.52-5.47), time since diagnosis of index per each month increase (OR 0.99; 95% CI: 0.99-1.00), and number of prescribed classes of antihypertensive medications (OR 0.81; 95% CI: 0.72-0.92).

Conclusion: Nearly a third of stroke survivors in this Ghanaian sample were on multivitamin supplementation, with select socio-clinical factors being linked to this practice. Future studies should examine how/if this practice is interfering with optimal stroke outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jstrokecerebrovasdis.2021.105735DOI Listing
March 2021

Factors Linked to Chronic Kidney Disease Among Stroke Survivors in Ghana.

J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis 2021 May 8;30(5):105720. Epub 2021 Mar 8.

Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco, United States.

Background: Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is associated with poor outcomes among stroke survivors. In Africa, where both stroke and CKD incidence rates are escalating, little, if anything, is known about the burden of CKD among stroke survivors.

Objective: To assess the frequency and factors associated with CKD among stroke survivors by primary stroke types.

Methods: Stroke registry data were prospectively collected on consecutively encountered stroke survivors seen at an out-patient clinic in Ghana between January 2018 and March 2020. We calculated estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) using the CKD-EPI formula and defined CKD as eGFR <60ml/min. Factors associated with CKD were assessed using multiple logistic regression modelling.

Results: Among 759 stroke survivors, 159 had CKD giving a prevalence of 21.0% (95%CI: 18.1% - 23.8%). The mean age of those with CKD was 61.6 ± 14.2 years compared with 57.5 ± 13.6 years, p=0.0007 among those without CKD. Five factors remained significantly associated with CKD with the following adjusted odds ratio (aOR and 95% CI). Age per decile rise 1.30 (1.13-1.50), male sex 1.99 (1.36-2.93), rural dwelling residence 1.95 (1.06-3.59), prior use of antihypertensive meds before index stroke onset 1.63 (1.08-2.47), and number of antihypertensive medication classes 1.25 (1.06-1.45).

Conclusion: 1 in 5 stroke survivors have evidence of chronic kidney disease in this Ghanaian study. Targeted interventions focusing on optimizing blood pressure control and rural dwellers may mitigate their risk for adverse outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jstrokecerebrovasdis.2021.105720DOI Listing
May 2021

Nutritional risk markers among stroke out-patients at the neurology clinic of a teaching hospital in Ghana.

Pan Afr Med J 2020 23;37:258. Epub 2020 Nov 23.

School of Medical Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana.

Introduction: stroke survivors are at risk of malnutrition due to inadequate dietary intake, as a result of neurological disorders causing dysphagia, depression and impaired ability to self-feed. There is paucity of information on nutritional status of stroke survivors after discharge from hospital care, hence, this study sought to determine the nutritional risk markers among stroke out-patients at the Neurology Clinic of Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Kumasi, Ghana.

Methods: a cross-sectional study was conducted among 106 stroke survivors at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Kumasi, Ghana. Nutritional status of stroke survivors was assessed, using body mass index (BMI) and mid upper arm circumference (MUAC). Biochemical and haematological nutrition indicators including total serum protein, serum albumin, total lymphocyte count, uric acid and haemoglobin were also determined. Independent t-test and ANOVA were used to test differences between mean values.

Results: the mean age of study participants was 58.47±14.2 years, with 56% being females. Overall, 96 (88.7%) of the participants had malnutrition, of whom 66 (68.8%) were undernourished, while 30 (31.2%) had overnutrition. It was also found that 38.7% of the participants were anaemic, based on haemoglobin levels. Using mean BMI, stroke survivors who had been discharged over five years were significantly overweight (p = 0.010).

Conclusion: there was high level of malnutrition among stroke out-patients in this study. The most common nutrition-related problem in the stroke survivors studied was anaemia. Findings from this study suggest the need for nutrition intervention strategies to address the high burden of malnutrition among the stroke survivors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.11604/pamj.2020.37.258.16929DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7864258PMC
February 2021

Social Support Systems and the Self-Management of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in Ghana.

J Health Care Poor Underserved 2020 ;31(3):1191-1212

There is a large body of literature on the role of social support systems in the management of chronic conditions in the West, with limited research on the sub-Saharan African and Ghanaian context. In the past, the organization and delivery of formal health services in Ghana were geared towards the treatment of infectious diseases rather than non-communicable diseases (NCDs). We conducted qualitative interviews with a sample of 33 NCD patients purposefully selected from two teaching hospitals in Ghana. The information they provided indicated that the most common types of support received were instrumental and emotional. While a majority of stroke patients experienced activity limitations related to bathing and cooking, they received the emotional support necessary to maintain their psychological well-being. Overall, we found social connections and relationships were an important strategy in the promotion of the physical and mental well-being of these NCD patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/hpu.2020.0089DOI Listing
January 2020

Associations between hypertension knowledge, awareness, and treatment and stroke occurrence across the globe: .

Heart 2020 Dec 14. Epub 2020 Dec 14.

Department of Medicine, Neurology Unit, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/heartjnl-2020-318019DOI Listing
December 2020

Lipoprotein(a) and High Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein among Patients with HIV in Ghana: The Study on Cardiovascular Risk Profile of HIV-Infected Patients on HAART (SCRIPT).

Glob Heart 2020 11 3;15(1):74. Epub 2020 Nov 3.

Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, US.

Background: Lipoprotein(a) [Lp(a)] and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) levels are associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the general population, even after adjusting for conventional CVD risk factors. However, data are limited regarding the distribution of Lp(a) and hs-CRP among patients with HIV in Ghana. We explored levels of Lp(a), hs-CRP and other cardiovascular risk factors among people who were HIV positive (HIV+) on ART (HIV+ART+), HIV+ART-, and HIV-ART- in a Ghanaian population.

Methods: We conducted a cross sectional study, recruited individuals who were HIV+ART+ and HIV+ART- from the largest HIV clinic in central Ghana between August 2018 and December 2019. HIV negative controls were recruited from communities and adjoining suburbs of Kumasi. Lipoprotein(a) was measured using Immunoturbidimetric assay and high sensitive-CRP concentrations were determined using particle-enhanced turbidimetric assay. We compared levels of Lp(a), hs-CRP, and conventional CVD risk factors among these groups and used multivariable stepwise logistic regression models to explore associations between them.

Results: Among HIV+ART+ (n = 156), HIV+ART- (n = 131), and HIV-ART- (n = 147), mean(SD) ages were 48 (9.1) years, 41 (11.1) years and 45 (11.9) years, p = <0.001, proportion of females were 71.2%, 67.9% and 73.5% respectively. Median(IQR) concentrations of hs-CRP in mg/L were 1.7 (0.8,4.5), 2.03 (0.5,8.58) and 1.0 (0.45,2.74) across respective groups and the proportion of elevated Lp(a) concentrations (Lp[a] > 30mg/dL) were 70%, 48% and 62% among HIV+ART+,HIV+ART- and HIV-ART- participants respectively. Diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia, waist-to-hip ratio and metabolic syndrome were associated with higher hs-CRP levels. Compared to HIV-ART-, HIV+ patients had higher odds of having hs-CRP > 3mg/L while HIV+ART+ patients had higher odds of elevated Lp(a) than HIV+ART- after multivariable adjustment.

Conclusion: PLWHA in Ghana are associated with higher odds of elevated hs-CRP, regardless of ART use. HIV+ART+ is significantly associated with higher odds of elevated Lp(a) levels compared to HIV+ART-; even after multivariable adjustments. Reasons for this and potential clinical implications merit further study.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5334/gh.850DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7646289PMC
November 2020

Prevalence and incidence of pre-diabetes and diabetes mellitus among people living with HIV in Ghana: Evidence from the EVERLAST Study.

HIV Med 2021 Apr 10;22(4):231-243. Epub 2020 Nov 10.

Department of Neurology, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA.

Background: Available data from high-income countries suggest that people living with HIV (PLWH) have a four-fold higher risk of diabetes compared with HIV-negative people. In sub-Saharan Africa, with 80% of the global burden of HIV, there is a relative paucity of data on the burden and determinants of prevalent and incident dysglycaemia.

Objectives: To assess the prevalence and incidence of pre-diabetes (pre-DM) and overt diabetes mellitus (DM) among PLWH in a Ghanaian tertiary medical centre.

Methods: We first performed a cross-sectional comparative analytical study involving PLWH on combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) (n = 258), PLWH not on cART (n = 244) and HIV-negative individuals (n = 242). Diabetes, pre-DM and normoglycaemia were defined as haemoglobin A1C (HBA1c) > 6.5%, in the range 5.7-6.4% and < 5.7% respectively. We then prospectively followed up the PLWH for 12 months to assess rates of new-onset DM, and composite of new-onset DM and pre-DM. Multivariate logistic regression models were fitted to identify factors associated with dysglycaemia among PLWH.

Results: The frequencies of DM among PLWH on cART, PLWH not on cART and HIV-negative individuals were 7.4%, 6.6% and 7.4% (P = 0.91), respectively, while pre-DM prevalence rates were 13.2%, 27.9% and 27.3%, respectively (P < 0.0001). Prevalent DM was independently associated with increasing age [adjusted odds ratio (95% confidence interval) (aOR, 95% CI) = 1.82 (1.20-2.77) for each 10-year rise], male sex [aOR = 2.64 (1.20-5.80)] and log(triglyceride/HDL cholesterol) [aOR = 8.54 (2.53-28.83)]. Prevalent pre-DM was independently associated with being on cART [aOR (95% CI) = 0.35 (0.18-0.69)]. There were a total of 12 cases of incident DM over 359.25 person-years, giving 33.4/1000 person-years of follow-up (PYFU) (95% CI: 18.1-56.8/1000), and an rate of incident pre-DM of 212.7/1000 PYFU (95 CI: 164.5-270.9/1000). The two independent factors associated with new-onset DM were having pre-DM at enrolment [aOR = 6.27 (1.89-20.81)] and being established on cART at enrolment [aOR = 12.02 (1.48-97.70)].

Conclusions: Incidence rates of pre-DM and overt DM among Ghanaian PLWH on cART ranks among the highest in the literature. There is an urgent need for routine screening and a multidisciplinary approach to cardiovascular disease risk reduction among PLWH to reduce morbidity and mortality from the detrimental effects of dysglycaemia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/hiv.13007DOI Listing
April 2021

Duration of antiretroviral therapy among people living with HIV and incidence of hypertension in Ghana.

J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich) 2020 12 30;22(12):2361-2371. Epub 2020 Oct 30.

University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA.

Understanding the differential rates of incident hypertension among People Living with HIV (PLWH) based of duration of exposure to combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) may provide insights into the pathogenesis of hypertension in this population. Utilizing the dataset of a prospective study conducted at a Ghanaian tertiary medical center, we evaluated factors associated with incident hypertension among PLWH previously naïve to cART before study enrollment (cART newly prescribed group, n = 221) versus PLWH established on cART for at least a year (cART established group, n = 212). New-onset hypertension was diagnosed as clinic BP > 140/90 mmHg on two separate clinic visits over 12-month follow-up. Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to assess factors associated with incident hypertension. Mean age of new versus cART established was 41.1 ± 8.2 versus 45.1 ± 8.6 years (p < .001), with more women in the cART established group (68.3 vs. 82%, p = .0009). There were 105 (24.3%) episodes of incident hypertension over 328 person-years follow-up (PYFU), incidence rate of 320.1 (95% CI: 263.1-385.9)/1000 PYFU, with higher rates in new versus cART established (476.6/1000 PYFU vs. 222.8/1000 PYFU, p = 0.0002). Overall, age by increasing decile (aHR 0.76; 95% CI: 0.59-0.98), log HIV-1 viral load (aHR 1.16; 1.04-1.35), and use of tenofovir (aHR 1.66; 1.04-2.64) were associated with incident hypertension. While CD4 counts, age, BMI, pre-diabetes, and urban/peri-urban residency were independently associated with hypertension in the cART established group; no independent predictors were identified among the cART newly prescribed group. Further studies to explore the potential mechanisms underlying incidence of hypertension in PLWH are warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jch.14088DOI Listing
December 2020

Apparent Treatment Resistant Hypertension Among Stroke Survivors in Ghana.

J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis 2020 Dec 21;29(12):105401. Epub 2020 Oct 21.

University of California San Francisco, USA. Electronic address:

Background And Purpose: There are limited data evaluating the characteristics of apparent treatment-resistant hypertension (aTRH) among stroke survivors in sub-Saharan Africa. We aimed to conduct a comparative analysis of the frequency and factors associated with aTRH among stroke survivors and stroke-free individuals with hypertension in Ghana.

Methods: Cross-sectional multicenter study involving five hospitals in Ghana conducted between July 2015 and June 2018. Clinic-based blood pressure was measured using a standardized protocol and antihypertensive medications assessed via review of medical records and inspection of pills. aTRH was defined as either office BP ≥140/90mmHg on ≥3 classes of antihypertensive medications or on ≥4 antihypertensive medications regardless of BP. Multivariate logistic regression models were constructed to assess for associations between aTRH and co-variates.

Results: Mean age of stroke survivors (n=1,169) was 59.3±13.3 years vs 58.4±12.4 years among stroke-free hypertensives (n=2,758), p=0.06. Among stroke survivors on ≥4 antihypertensive medications 18.1% had BP on a target of <140/90 mmHg and only 8.7% had BP <130/80mmHg. Prevalence of aTRH was 45.3%(95% CI: 42.4-48.2) among stroke survivors and 19.9%(18.4-21.4) among stroke-free hypertensives, p<0.0001. All stroke types were associated with aTRH with adjusted odds ratio (95% CI): hemorrhagic stroke 4.56(3.34-6.23), sub-arachnoid hemorrhage 4.10(1.70-9.90), ischemic stroke 2.85(2.32-3.50), and untyped stroke 1.92(1.41-2.60). Other predictors of aTRH were age <60 years, receiving care at a tertiary facility, and diabetes mellitus.

Conclusions: Most stroke survivors encountered in this multisite study in Ghana had resistant hypertension. Tailored interventions are needed to mitigate the risk of recurrent adverse cardiovascular events in these patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jstrokecerebrovasdis.2020.105401DOI Listing
December 2020

Increased levels of circulating IL-10 in persons recovered from hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection compared with persons with active HCV infection.

BMC Res Notes 2020 Oct 7;13(1):472. Epub 2020 Oct 7.

Department of Molecular Medicine, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana.

Objective: Approximately 70% of all hepatitis C (HCV) infections develop chronic disease. Active or exacerbated chronic hepatitis C infection subsequently progress to liver disease. The role of T-cells secretions in achieving viral clearance is still not well understood. Thus, the current study was set to determine the relationship between the T cell cytokine profiles, biochemical parameters and persistent HCV infection or spontaneous recovery.

Results: Twenty-five percent (41/163) of the anti-HCV positive participants had recovered from HCV and had significantly higher concentration of IL-10 compared to those with active HCV infection (P < 0.012). Other circulating cytokines measured; IL-2, IFN gamma, TNF alpha, IL-5 and IL-17 were similar in both groups. Participants with active HCV infection had significantly higher aspartate transaminase (AST) (35 units) and alanine transaminase (46 units) compared to those in the recovered state (P < 0.001). Thus, serum levels of IL10 could be explored in larger prospective cohort study as a predictive marker of recovering from an active HCV infection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13104-020-05313-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7542684PMC
October 2020

Antecedent febrile illness and occurrence of stroke in West Africa: The SIREN study.

J Neurol Sci 2020 Nov 28;418:117158. Epub 2020 Sep 28.

Department of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Nigeria.

Background: Acute infections have been posited as potential precipitants or triggers of the occurrence of stroke among adults with traditional vascular risk factors. We evaluated associations between stroke occurrence and reported febrile illness within 4 weeks (potential antecedent infections) among West Africans.

Methods: The Stroke Investigative Research and Educational Network (SIREN) is a multicenter, case-control study involving 15 sites in Ghana and Nigeria. Cases include adults aged ≥18 years with radiologically confirmed strokes. Controls were stroke-free adults matched with cased by age, gender and ethnicity. Detailed evaluations for vascular, lifestyle and psychosocial factors were performed. Participants were asked for evidence of any febrile illness within the past 4 weeks. We used conditional logistic regression to estimate adjusted odds ratios (aOR) with 95% Confidence Interval.

Results: Among 3588 stroke cases recruited in Ghana and Nigeria between August 2014 and July 2018, 363 cases (10.1%) reported having a febrile illness within the 4 weeks prior to stroke occurrence. Having an antecedent infection was associated with stroke occurrence with an unadjusted OR of 1.19 (1.00-1.51) but aOR of 0.83 (0.59-1.17) upon adjusting for traditional vascular risk factors. Stress, aOR of 4.69 (2.59-8.50) and consumption of green vegetables 2.27 (1.35-2.85) were associated with antecedent febrile illness.

Conclusion: 1 in 10 stroke cases reported antecedent history of febrile illness prior to occurrence of stroke but no independent association was observed in this study. Infectious exposures may be important triggers of cardiovascular events requiring further exploratory studies to better understand the role of this emerging risk factor.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jns.2020.117158DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8006213PMC
November 2020

Risk Factor Control in Stroke Survivors with Diagnosed and Undiagnosed Diabetes: A Ghanaian Registry Analysis.

J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis 2020 Dec 22;29(12):105304. Epub 2020 Sep 22.

University of California San Francisco, USA. Electronic address:

Background And Purpose: Expert consensus guidelines recommend optimizing global risk factor control in diabetic stroke survivors to improve outcomes. Since relatively little is known about the adequacy of risk factor control among diabetic stroke survivors in sub-Saharan Africa, we sought to assess control rates of key traditional risk factors among Ghanaian stroke survivors with diabetes. A secondary objective was to assess the burden of undiagnosed dysglycemic states among stroke survivors without a prior diagnosis of diabetes mellitus (DM) METHODS: Cross-sectional study of outpatient stroke survivors consecutively enrolled in a stroke registry at a tertiary medical center in Ghana between January 2018 and March 2020. We collected baseline demographic and clinical details including blood pressure, lipid panel, fasting blood glucose results, medications prescribed for secondary prevention, and stroke type information. BP control target was set at <130/80 mmHg, LDL-cholesterol <2.6 mmol/l and Fasting blood glucose (FBG) <7.0 mmol/l. Factors associated with poor control of vascular risk factors were assessed using multivariate logistic regression models.

Results: Of 1101 stroke survivors enrolled into the registry, 279 (25.3%) had a comorbid diagnosis of DM. Mean (±SD) age among the diabetic vs. non-diabetic stroke patients was 61.4 ± 12.0 years vs. 57.6 ± 14.6 years (p < 0.0001). Among the diabetic stroke patients, 61.7% had LDL-cholesterol <2.6 mmol/L, 8.2% had BP <130/80 mm Hg and 28.6% had FBG <7.0 mmol/L. Significant predictors of poor control of BP were younger age, having co-morbid DM and number of antihypertensive medication classes while poor LDL-cholesterol was associated with longer duration of stroke diagnosis. Among those without a prior diagnosis of DM, FBG analysis of 540 subjects with available data showed that 21.7% had FBG <5.7 mmol/L, 39.0% had impaired fasting blood glucose and 39.3% had FBG in the diabetes mellitus range. Patients who were older, female, or experienced an ischemic stroke trended towards being more likely to have undiagnosed DM.

Conclusion: Among Ghanaian diabetic stroke survivors, blood pressure and blood glucose, are especially poorly controlled. There is also a high burden of undiagnosed pre-diabetes and DM among stroke survivors substantially heightening their risk for further adverse CVD outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jstrokecerebrovasdis.2020.105304DOI Listing
December 2020

Prevalence and predictors of post-stroke epilepsy among Ghanaian stroke survivors.

J Neurol Sci 2020 Nov 12;418:117138. Epub 2020 Sep 12.

Department of Neurology, University of California San Francisco, USA.

Background: Post-stroke epilepsy (PSE) is associated with poorer quality of life, higher mortality, and greater health expenditures. We are unaware of any published reports on the frequency of and factors associated with PSE in Africa.

Purpose: To assess the frequency and factors associated with PSE among Ghanaian stroke survivors.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study of consecutive stroke survivors seen at an out-patient Neurology clinic enrolled into a stroke registry at a tertiary medical center in Ghana between January 2018 and March 2020. We collected baseline demographic and clinical details including diagnosis of post-stroke epilepsy, anti-epileptic medications, presence, treatment and control of vascular risk factors. Multivariate logistic regression models were constructed to identify factors associated with PSE.

Results: Of 1101 stroke patients encountered, 126 had PSE (frequency of 11.4%; 95% CI of 9.6-13.5%). Mean (± SD) age among PSE vs. non-PSE patients was 57.7 (± 15.2) vs. 58.7 (± 13.9) years. Factors independently associated with PSE were being male (aOR 1.94; 95% CI: 1.32-2.86), cortical ischemic strokes (1.79; 1.12-2.87), blood pressure > 130/80 mmHg (OR 2.26; 1.06-4.79), use of antihypertensive treatment (OR 0.43; 0.23-0.79). There was an inverted J-shaped curve association between number of classes of antihypertensive drugs prescribed and occurrence of PSE, with the lowest inflection point at 3 classes (OR 0.34; 0.17-0.68).

Conclusion: In this convenience sample of ambulatory Ghanaian stroke survivors, one in ten had PSE. Further investigations to confirm and clarify the associations between the identified demographic and clinical characteristics are warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jns.2020.117138DOI Listing
November 2020

Natural history of motor symptoms in Parkinson's disease and the long-duration response to levodopa.

Brain 2020 08;143(8):2490-2501

Parkinson Institute, ASST Gaetano Pini-CTO, Milan, Italy.

The natural pattern of progression of Parkinson's disease is largely unknown because patients are conventionally followed on treatment. As Parkinson's disease progresses, the true magnitude of the long-duration response to levodopa remains unknown, because it can only be estimated indirectly in treated patients. We aimed to describe the natural course of motor symptoms by assessing the natural OFF in consecutive Parkinson's disease patients never exposed to treatment (drug-naïve), and to investigate the effects of daily levodopa on the progression of motor disability in the OFF medication state over a 2-year period. In this prospective naturalistic study in sub-Saharan Africa, 30 Parkinson's disease patients (age at onset 58 ± 14 years, disease duration 7 ± 4 years) began levodopa monotherapy and were prospectively assessed using the Unified Parkinson's disease Rating Scale (UPDRS). Data were collected at baseline, at 1-year and 2-years follow-up. First-ever levodopa intake induced a significant improvement in motor symptoms (natural OFF versus ON state UPDRS-III 41.9 ± 15.9 versus 26.8 ± 15.1, respectively; P < 0.001). At 1-year follow-up, OFF state UPDRS-III score after overnight withdrawal of levodopa was considerably lower than natural OFF (26.5 ± 14.9; P < 0 .001). This effect was not modified by disease duration. At the 2-year follow-up, motor signs after overnight OFF (30.2 ± 14.2) were still 30% milder than natural OFF (P = 0.001). The ON state UPDRS-III at the first-ever levodopa challenge was similar to the overnight OFF score at 1-year follow-up and the two conditions were correlated (r = 0.72, P < 0.001). Compared to the natural progression of motor disability, levodopa treatment resulted in a 31% lower annual decline in UPDRS-III scores in the OFF state (3.33 versus 2.30 points/year) with a lower model's variance explained by disease duration (67% versus 36%). Using the equation regressed on pretreatment data, we predicted the natural OFF at 1-year and 2-year follow-up visits and estimated that the magnitude of the long-duration response to levodopa ranged between 60% and 65% of total motor benefit provided by levodopa, independently of disease duration (P = 0.13). Although levodopa therapy was associated with motor fluctuations, overnight OFF disability during levodopa was invariably less severe than the natural course of the disease, independently of disease duration. The same applies to the yearly decline in UPDRS-III scores in the OFF state. Further research is needed to clarify the mechanisms underlying the long-duration response to levodopa in Parkinson's disease. Understanding the natural course of Parkinson's disease and the long-duration response to levodopa may help to develop therapeutic strategies increasing its magnitude to improve patient quality of life and to better interpret the outcome of randomized clinical trials on disease-modifying therapies that still rely on the overnight OFF to define Parkinson's disease progression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awaa181DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7566883PMC
August 2020

Frequency & factors associated with apparent resistant hypertension among Ghanaians in a multicenter study.

J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich) 2020 09 20;22(9):1594-1602. Epub 2020 Aug 20.

Department of Medicine, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana.

Apparent resistant hypertension (ARH) is rife among people living with hypertension and is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. There is however paucity of data from sub-Saharan Africa on the burden of ARH. We sought to report on the frequency and factors associated with ARH among a cohort of Ghanaians with hypertension. A cross-sectional study involving 2912 participants with hypertension enrolled at five health facilities in Ghana. ARH was defined as either office BP ≥ 140/90 mm Hg on 3 or more antihypertensive medications or on 4 or more antihypertensive medications regardless of BP. Factors associated with ARH were evaluated in a multivariate logistic regression model. We found 550 out of 2,912 (18.9%) of study participants had ARH. Out of these 550 subjects, 511 (92.9%) were on 3 or more antihypertensive medications with BP ≥ 140/90 mm Hg and 39 (7.1%) were on 4 or more antihypertensive medications with BP ≥ 140/90 mm Hg. The prevalence of ARH was 15.5% among elderly aged 75 + years (n = 341), 20.7% among 65-74 years (n = 588), and 18.9% among those ≤ 64 years (n = 1983). The adjusted odds ratio (95% CI) of factors independently associated with ARH was duration of hypertension, 1.05 (1.03-1.06) for each year rise; eGFR < 60 mL/min, 1.73 (1.33-2.25); and diabetes mellitus, 0.59 (0.46-0.76). Attaining secondary level education and residence in a peri-urban setting were significantly associated with ARH though not in a dose-dependent manner. ARH is rife among Ghanaians and may negatively impact on cardiovascular outcomes in the long term.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jch.13974DOI Listing
September 2020

Letter to the Editor.

J Neurol Sci 2020 11 10;418:117089. Epub 2020 Aug 10.

University of California, San Francisco, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jns.2020.117089DOI Listing
November 2020

Frequency and factors linked to refractory hypertension among stroke survivors in Ghana.

J Neurol Sci 2020 08 5;415:116976. Epub 2020 Jun 5.

Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco, USA.

Background: Refractory hypertension (RfH) is a rare, severe phenotype of resistant hypertension, linked to higher risk of adverse cardiovascular outcomes. Little is known about the association of RfH with stroke type and subtype.

Objective: To determine the prevalence and predictors of RfH among stroke survivors in Ghana.

Methods: We interrogated the dataset of a prospectively collected registry of hypertensive patients seen between July 2015 and June 2019, at five hospitals in Ghana. We compared stroke survivors to stroke-free controls. Clinic-based blood pressure was measured using a standardized protocol and antihypertensive medications were assessed via review of medical records and inspection of pills. Refractory hypertension was defined as office BP ≥140/90 mmHg on ≥5 classes of antihypertensive medications. Multivariate logistic regression models were constructed to assess factors associated with RfH.

Results: Of 3927 hypertensive patients (1169 stroke survivors, 2758 controls), 86 had RfH for an overall prevalence of 2.2% (95% CI: 1.8-2.7%). Among patients with RfH, 5.8% (4.5-7.3%) were stroke survivors vs. 0.7% (0.4-1.0%) were stroke-free (p < .0001). Adjusted odds ratio (95% CI) for factors associated with RfH were being male (1.81, 1.15-2.85), age < 60 years (2.64, 1.59-4.40), chronic kidney disease (2.09, 1.21-3.60), and known stroke (7.53, 4.35-13.04). RfH was associated with intracerebral hemorrhage, (11.43, 5.65-23.14), ischemic stroke (9.76, 5.47-17.42), lacunar stroke (13.58, 6.45-28.61), and non-lacunar ischemic stroke (3.67, 1.04-13.02).

Conclusion: Presence of RfH is significantly accentuated among stroke survivors. Intensified efforts are warranted to identify and aggressively address barriers to control in these patients to avert subsequent vascular events.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jns.2020.116976DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7678803PMC
August 2020

Prevalence and predictors of statin utilization among patient populations at high vascular risk in Ghana.

J Neurol Sci 2020 Jul 15;414:116838. Epub 2020 Apr 15.

Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco, USA.

Background: Inadequate implementation of evidence-based preventive measures for individuals at high risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) will only worsen the current epidemic of CVDs in sub-Saharan Africa. We assessed rates and predictors of statin utilization among two high CVD risk patient populations, people with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and those with stroke, encountered across five hospitals in Ghana.

Methods: A cross-sectional study among 1427 patients with T2DM and 159 stroke survivors encountered at 5 hospitals (1 primary-level, 2 secondary level and 2 tertiary level) in Ghana between July 2015 and June 2018. We collected baseline demographic and clinical details including statin prescription from medical records. Factors associated with statin prescription among T2DM for primary prevention and stroke survivors for secondary prevention were evaluated using multivariate logistic regression analysis.

Results: Among patients with T2DM without CVDs, 240 (16.8%) were on statins for primary prevention. Factors associated with statin use among diabetics expressed as aOR (95% CI) were being treated at a tertiary level hospital 5.86 (3.22-10.68), hypertension comorbidity 1.80 (1.25-2.60), and lower income 0.43 (0.26-0.70). Among 159 stroke survivors, 22 (14.0%) were on statins with the following associated factors: lower income 0.16 (0.03-0.77), secondary level vs. tertiary level education 0.21 (0.05-0.97) and having T2DM 4.69 (1.63-13.49).

Conclusion: Approximately 1 in 6 individuals with T2DM without CVD and 1 in 7 stroke survivors are prescribed statins in Ghana. Efforts to bridge this practice gap and improve access to life saving preventative medications for CVD risk reduction in low-and-middle income countries are urgently warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jns.2020.116838DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7293931PMC
July 2020

Low blood pressure levels & incident stroke risk among elderly Ghanaians with hypertension.

J Neurol Sci 2020 06 4;413:116770. Epub 2020 Mar 4.

University of California San Francisco, USA.

Background: Clinical trial data indicate that more intensive blood pressure (BP) lowering below standard cut-off targets is associated with lower risks of strokes in the elderly. There is a relative paucity of real-world practice data on this issue, especially among Africans.

Objective: To assess BP control rates, its determinants, and whether a lower BP < 120/80 mmHg is associated with a lower incident stroke risk among elderly Ghanaians with hypertension.

Methods: We retrospectively evaluated data, which were prospectively collected as part of a cohort study involving adults with hypertension and/or diabetes in 5 Ghanaian hospitals. BP control was defined using the JNC-8 guideline of <150/90 mmHg for elderly with hypertension aged >60 years or 140/90 mmHg for those with diabetes mellitus. Risk factors for poor BP control were assessed using multivariable logistic regression models. We calculated incident stroke risk over an 18-month follow-up at 3 BP cut-off's of <120/80, 120-159/80-99, and > 160/100 mmHg.

Results: Of the 1365 elderly participants with hypertension, 38.2% had diabetes mellitus and 45.8% had uncontrolled BP overall. Factors associated with uncontrolled BP were higher number of antihypertensive medications prescribed adjusted odds ratio of 1.45 (95% CI: 1.27-1.66), and having diabetes 2.56 (1.99-3.28). Among the elderly, there were 0 stroke events/100py for BP < 120/80 mmHg, 1.98 (95%CI: 1.26-2.98) for BP between 120 and 159/80-99 mmHg and 2.46 events/100py (95% CI: 1.20-4.52 at BP > 160/100 mmHg.

Conclusion: A lower BP target <120/80 mmHg among elderly Ghanaians with hypertension is associated with a signal of lower incident stroke risk. Pragmatic trials are needed to evaluate lower BP targets on stroke incidence in Africa.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jns.2020.116770DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7250714PMC
June 2020

Rifampicin and clarithromycin (extended release) versus rifampicin and streptomycin for limited Buruli ulcer lesions: a randomised, open-label, non-inferiority phase 3 trial.

Lancet 2020 04 12;395(10232):1259-1267. Epub 2020 Mar 12.

Department of Neglected Tropical Diseases, WHO, Geneva, Switzerland.

Background: Buruli ulcer is a neglected tropical disease caused by Mycobacterium ulcerans infection that damages the skin and subcutis. It is most prevalent in western and central Africa and Australia. Standard antimicrobial treatment with oral rifampicin 10 mg/kg plus intramuscular streptomycin 15 mg/kg once daily for 8 weeks (RS8) is highly effective, but streptomycin injections are painful and potentially harmful. We aimed to compare the efficacy and tolerability of fully oral rifampicin 10 mg/kg plus clarithromycin 15 mg/kg extended release once daily for 8 weeks (RC8) with that of RS8 for treatment of early Buruli ulcer lesions.

Methods: We did an open-label, non-inferiority, randomised (1:1 with blocks of six), multicentre, phase 3 clinical trial comparing fully oral RC8 with RS8 in patients with early, limited Buruli ulcer lesions. There were four trial sites in hospitals in Ghana (Agogo, Tepa, Nkawie, Dunkwa) and one in Benin (Pobè). Participants were included if they were aged 5 years or older and had typical Buruli ulcer with no more than one lesion (caterories I and II) no larger than 10 cm in diameter. The trial was open label, and neither the investigators who took measurements of the lesions nor the attending doctors were masked to treatment assignment. The primary clinical endpoint was lesion healing (ie, full epithelialisation or stable scar) without recurrence at 52 weeks after start of antimicrobial therapy. The primary endpoint and safety were assessed in the intention-to-treat population. A sample size of 332 participants was calculated to detect inferiority of RC8 by a margin of 12%. This study was registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT01659437.

Findings: Between Jan 1, 2013, and Dec 31, 2017, participants were recruited to the trial. We stopped recruitment after 310 participants. Median age of participants was 14 years (IQR 10-29) and 153 (52%) were female. 297 patients had PCR-confirmed Buruli ulcer; 151 (51%) were assigned to RS8 treatment, and 146 (49%) received oral RC8 treatment. In the RS8 group, lesions healed in 144 (95%, 95% CI 91 to 98) of 151 patients, whereas lesions healed in 140 (96%, 91 to 99) of 146 patients in the RC8 group. The difference in proportion, -0·5% (-5·2 to 4·2), was not significantly greater than zero (p=0·59), showing that RC8 treatment is non-inferior to RS8 treatment for lesion healing at 52 weeks. Treatment-related adverse events were recorded in 20 (13%) patients receiving RS8 and in nine (7%) patients receiving RC8. Most adverse events were grade 1-2, but one (1%) patient receiving RS8 developed serious ototoxicity and ended treatment after 6 weeks. No patients needed surgical resection. Four patients (two in each study group) had skin grafts.

Interpretation: Fully oral RC8 regimen was non-inferior to RS8 for treatment of early, limited Buruli ulcer and was associated with fewer adverse events. Therefore, we propose that fully oral RC8 should be the preferred therapy for early, limited lesions of Buruli ulcer.

Funding: WHO with additional support from MAP International, American Leprosy Missions, Fondation Raoul Follereau France, Buruli ulcer Groningen Foundation, Sanofi-Pasteur, and BuruliVac.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30047-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7181188PMC
April 2020

Vascular-brain Injury Progression after Stroke (VIPS) study: concept for understanding racial and geographic determinants of cognitive decline after stroke.

J Neurol Sci 2020 05 19;412:116754. Epub 2020 Feb 19.

Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco, USA.

Cognitive impairment and dementia (CID) are major public health problems with substantial personal, social, and financial burdens. African Americans are at a heightened risk for Vascular Cognitive Impairment (VCI) compared to European Americans. Recent lines of evidence also suggest a high burden of Post-stroke VCI among indigenous Africans. A better understanding of the cause(s) of the racial disparity in CID, specifically VCI, is needed in order to develop strategies to reduce it. We propose and discuss the conceptual framework for a unique tri-population, trans-continental study titled The Vascular brain Injury Progression after Stroke (VIPS) study. The overarching objective of the VIPS Study will be to explore the interplay of multiple factors (racial, geographical, vascular, lifestyle, nutritional, psychosocial and inflammatory) influencing the level and trajectory of post-stroke cognitive outcomes and examine whether differences between indigenous Africans, African Americans and European Americans exist. We hypothesize that differences which might be due to racial factors will be observed in African Americans versus European Americans as well as Indigenous Africans versus European Americans but not in African Americans versus Indigenous Americans; differences due to geographical factors will be observed in Indigenous Americans versus African Americans and Indigenous Africans versus European Americans but not in African Americans versus European Americans. This overarching objective could be accomplished by building upon existing National Institutes of Health investments in the REasons for Geographical And Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study (based in the United States of America) and the Stroke Investigative Research and educational Network (SIREN) study (based in Sub-Saharan Africa).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jns.2020.116754DOI Listing
May 2020

Molecular Characterization and Clinical Description of Non-Polio Enteroviruses Detected in Stool Samples from HIV-Positive and HIV-Negative Adults in Ghana.

Viruses 2020 02 16;12(2). Epub 2020 Feb 16.

Department of Tropical Medicine, Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine and I. Department of Medicine, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, 20359 Hamburg, Germany.

In the post-polio eradication era, increasing attention is given to non-polio enteroviruses. Most of the data about enteroviruses in sub-Saharan Africa are related to acute flaccid paralysis surveillance and target the pediatric population. This study aimed to investigate the presence of enterovirus in PLHIV (people living with HIV) and HIV-negative individuals in Ghana. Stool samples from HIV-positive individuals ( = 250) and healthy blood donors ( = 102) attending the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi, Ghana, were screened by real-time PCR for enterovirus. Molecular typing of the VP1 region was performed. Enterovirus-positive samples were tested for norovirus, adenovirus, rotavirus, sapovirus, and cosaviruses. Twenty-six out of 250 HIV-positive subjects (10.4%) and 14 out of 102 HIV-negative individuals (13.7%) were detected enterovirus-positive, not showing a significant different infection rate between the two groups. HIV-negative individuals were infected with strains only. HIV-positive participants were detected positive for species , , and . Co-infections with other viral enteric pathogens were almost exclusively detected among HIV-positive participants. Overall, the present study provides the first data about enteroviruses within HIV-positive and HIV-negative adults living in Ghana.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/v12020221DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7077198PMC
February 2020

Post-intervention qualitative assessment of mobile health technology to manage hypertension among Ghanaian stroke survivors.

J Neurol Sci 2019 Nov 13;406:116462. Epub 2019 Sep 13.

School of Medicine, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, United States of America. Electronic address:

Stroke is a leading cause of death in Africa and a key modifiable risk factor for the index and recurrent stroke is through the adequate management of blood pressure. Recent guidelines encourage management beyond clinic settings, yet implementation of these guidelines can be challenging, especially in resource constrained regions, such as in Sub-Saharan Africa. Mobile health technology may offer an innovative and cost-effective approach to improve BP monitoring and facilitate adherence to antihypertensive medications. Stroke survivors (n = 16) and their caregivers (n = 8) who participated in a 3-month feasibility study were invited to share post-intervention insights via focus groups (n = 3). Clinician (n = 7) input on intervention delivery and clinical impressions was also obtained via a separate focus group (n = 1). Four major themes emerged highlighting the ability to self-monitor, the use of technology as an interventional tool, training and support, and post-intervention adherence. Overwhelming receptivity toward home blood pressure monitoring and the use of mobile health (mHealth) was noted. Feedback indicated benefits in having access to equipment and that message prompts facilitated adherence. Post-intervention adherence declined following study intervention, indicating a need for increased exposure to facilitate long-term behavioral change, although participants conveyed a heightened awareness of the importance of BP monitoring and lifestyle changes needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jns.2019.116462DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7653548PMC
November 2019

Lower prevalence of Blastocystis sp. infections in HIV positive compared to HIV negative adults in Ghana.

PLoS One 2019 3;14(9):e0221968. Epub 2019 Sep 3.

Department of Tropical Medicine, Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine and I. Department of Medicine, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany.

Background: Sub-Saharan Africa is endemic for intestinal parasites and distinguished for the largest burden of HIV cases. Blastocystis sp. is one of the most common protists infecting humans but its role in human disease is still controversial. Aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of Blastocystis sp. in HIV positive and negative adults in Ghana and its association with immune status and other risk factors.

Methods: 122 HIV positive outpatients and 70 HIV negative blood donors from the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi, Ghana, were included in the present study. Demographic, clinical and laboratory data were collected and HIV positive patients distinguished for CD4+ T cell count <200 cells/μl (n = 54) and >200 cells/μl (n = 68). A Blastocystis's phylogenetic analysis was performed to determine sample subtype (ST).

Results: The prevalence of Blastocystis sp. in adult HIV positive individuals was lower than in HIV negative persons (6.6% vs. 20.0%, p = 0.008) and Blastocystis sp. ST1 was the most prevalent strain. Within HIV positive participants, the prevalence of Blastocystis sp. was lower in those individuals with CD4+ T cell count <200 cells/μl than in patients with higher CD4+ T cell count (1.9% vs. 10.3%, p = 0.076). Multiple regression analysis revealed that Blastocystis sp. was inversely associated with an obese Body Mass Index (BMI) in HIV negative persons (p = 0.040). Presence of Blastocystis sp. was correlated with higher CD4+ T cell count in HIV positive participants (p = 0.049).

Conclusion: It is largely reported that people living with HIV (PLHIV) in Africa are affected from parasite infections and that co-infections may adversely impact on their immune status, accelerating progress to AIDS and worsening gastrointestinal manifestations. Differently, in this study Blastocystis sp. was associated with a better immune status jointly with a healthy body weight while it seems to be reduced with the progression of HIV infection. This data agree with recent suggestions that Blastocystis sp. can represent a component of the healthy gut microbiota.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0221968PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6719849PMC
March 2020

Prevalence and predictors of chronic kidney disease among Ghanaian patients with hypertension and diabetes mellitus: A multicenter cross-sectional study.

J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich) 2019 10 29;21(10):1542-1550. Epub 2019 Aug 29.

Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons, Accra, Ghana.

The burden of chronic kidney disease (CKD) is rapidly rising in developing countries due to astronomical increases in key risk factors including hypertension and diabetes. We sought to assess the burden and predictors of CKD among Ghanaians with hypertension and/or diabetes mellitus in a multicenter hospital-based study. We conducted a cross-sectional study in the Ghana Access and Affordability Program (GAAP) involving adults with hypertension only (HPT), hypertension with diabetes mellitus (HPT + DM), and diabetes mellitus only (DM) in 5 health facilities in Ghana. A structured questionnaire was administered to collect data on demographic variables, medical history, and clinical examination. Serum creatinine and proteinuria were measured, and estimated glomerular filtration rate derived using the CKD-EPI formula. A multivariable logistic regression model was used to identify factors associated with CKD. A total of 2781 (84.4%) of 3294 participants had serum creatinine and proteinuria data available for analysis. The prevalence of CKD was 242 (28.5%) among participants with both DM and HPT, 417 (26.3%) among participants with HPT, and 56 (16.1%) among those with DM alone. Predictors of CKD were increasing age aOR 1.26 (1.17-1.36), low educational level aOR 1.7 (1.23-2.35), duration of HPT OR, 1.02 (1.01-1.04), and use of herbal medications aOR 1.39 (1.10-1.75). Female gender was protective of CKD aOR 0.75 (0.62-0.92). Among patients with DM, increasing age and systolic blood pressure were associated with CKD. There is high prevalence of CKD among DM and hypertension patients in Ghana. Optimizing blood pressure control and limiting the use of herbal preparations may mitigate CKD occurrence in high cardiovascular risk populations in developing countries.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jch.13672DOI Listing
October 2019

The dynamics of Poststroke depression among Ghanaians.

J Neurol Sci 2019 Oct 23;405:116410. Epub 2019 Jul 23.

Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco, USA.

Objective: The very few published data on post-stroke depression (PSD) among indigenous Africans have covered its prevalence and predictors. We sought to evaluate the dynamics of PSD in a cohort of Ghanaian stroke survivors followed for 9 months after an acute stroke.

Methods: Stroke survivors in this prospective cohort were adults aged >18 years with CT scan confirmed stroke, recruited into a randomized controlled trial to assess the feasibility of an mHealth technology-enabled, nurse guided intervention for blood pressure control. PSD was assessed a secondary outcome measure using the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) at enrollment, months 3, 6, and 9. Those with a score of >7 points on HDRS were categorized as depressed. A multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed to identify independent predictors of PSF.

Results: Mean age of study participants was 55.1 ± 12.7 years with 65% being males. Ischemic strokes comprised 76.6% of study population. Prevalence of PSD at baseline was 78.6%, 43.6% at month 3, 41.1% at month 6 and 18.2% at month 9 (p < .0001). Factors significantly associated with PSD at baseline were higher NIH Stoke Scale score (adjusted OR 1.51, 95% CI: 1.03-2.23) and pain (adjusted OR 7.18, 95% CI: 1.52-33.89). NIHSS score (adjusted OR, 1.99, 95% CI: 1.12-3.52) as associated with PSD at month 9.

Conclusion: 80% Ghanaian stroke survivors have early PSD declining to 20% at month 9. Stroke severity is the persistent factor associated with PSD at baseline and follow-up, and good be a target for screening and promptly treating PSD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jns.2019.07.028DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6825566PMC
October 2019

Characteristics of hypertension among people living with HIV in Ghana: Impact of new hypertension guideline.

J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich) 2019 06 24;21(6):838-850. Epub 2019 May 24.

University of California, San Francisco, California.

Data on the burden of hypertension among people living with HIV (PLWH) in Africa are limited, especially after new expert consensus hypertension guidelines were published in 2017. The authors sought to assess the prevalence and factors associated with hypertension among PLWH. This is a cross-sectional study involving PLWH on combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) (n = 250) compared with sex-matched cART-naïve PLWH (n = 201) in Ghana. Hypertension was defined as blood pressure ≥ 140/90 mm Hg or use of antihypertensive drugs. The authors also assessed the prevalence and predictors associated with hypertension using the recent guideline recommended cutoff BP ≥ 130/80 mm Hg. Multivariate logistic regression models were fitted to identify factors associated with hypertension among PLWH. The mean age of PLWH on cART was 45.7 ± 8.6 years, and 42.9 ± 8.8 years among PLWH cART-naive with 81% of study participants being women. The prevalence of hypertension among PLWH on cART and PLWH cART-naïve was 36.9% and 23.4%, P = 0.002 at BP ≥ 140/90 mm Hg and 57.2% and 42.3%, respectively, P = 0.0009, at BP ≥ 130/80 mm Hg. Factors associated with hypertension at BP ≥ 140/90 mm Hg in the PLWH group with adjusted odds ratio (95% CI) were increasing age, 2.08 (1.60-2.71) per 10 years, and body mass index, 1.53 (1.24-1.88) per 5 kg/m rise. At BP ≥ 130/80 mm Hg, cART exposure, aOR of 1.77 (95% CI: 1.20-2.63), family history of hypertension, aOR of 1.43 (1.12-1.83), and hypertriglyceridemia, aOR of 0.54 (0.31-0.93), were associated with hypertension. Among PLWH, cART exposure was associated with higher prevalence of hypertension per the new guideline definition, a finding which warrants further investigation and possible mitigation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jch.13561DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6699754PMC
June 2019