RHEUMATIC HEART DISEASE LEADING CAUSE OF PREMATURE DEATH IN PAKISTAN

KANWAL SALEEM 
Feb 23 - Mar 01, 2009

Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) is one of the leading causes of premature death and disability in Pakistan with prevalence rate of 22 in urban and about 6 out of 1000 in rural areas.

Dr. Naveed Akhtar, consultant cardiologist of Shifa International Hospital said that in a recent study conducted by a group of Pakistani scientists including himself at Biomedical and Genetic Engineering Laboratories Islamabad, it has been found that specific genes were associated with RHD in Pakistani people like various world populations.

He was delivering a lecture on "Current Perspective of Cardiovascular Genomics in Pakistan'', at the University of Health Sciences (UHS). The UHS Vice-Chancellor Prof. Malik Hussain Mubbashar was also present on the occasion.

Dr. Naveed was of the view that the validation of genetic association with RHD might lead to a development of a cost-effective strategy in primary prevention of the disease.

Rheumatic heart disease is the most important sequel of acute rheumatic fever, which is caused by a bacterium and usually presents in childhood, affecting five to 10-year-old although it can strike people up to the age of 30. It usually begins as sore throat. RHD accounts for up to 60% of all cardiovascular diseases in young adults and children.

10-BEDED BAY AT SKMCH

Moreover, the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre (SKMCH & RC) has established a new 10-beded bay to cater to the need of increasing patients of chemotherapy.

According to the hospital's spokesman, the Chairman of the Board of Governors Imran Khan inaugurated the bay while Mian Haleem Sheikh, Rehana Haleem, Tariq Hamid and the representatives of Uch Power (pvt.) Ltd., have donated Rs 5 million for its construction.

Dr. Faisal Sultan highlighted the ongoing and future development projects and said construction of two new inpatients floors was planned to start later this year. Other donors and supporters were also present on the occasion who pledged an amount of Rs 7 million for various projects.

At Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital & Research Centre, nearly 40,000 patients are currently given chemotherapy annually in dedicated chemotherapy bays as well as in the inpatient areas.