Pacemaker need in Africa outpacing resources

July 20, 2020

The need for pacemakers in Africa will rise as life expectancy and associated cardiovascular diseases increase; however, the pacing field, including appropriate training, facilities and devices, are not sufficient to meet future need, according to an Africa Heart Rhythm Association (AFHRA) statement published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

According to the paper, a recent Pan-African Society of Cardiology found that pacemakers are not implanted in about 20% of African countries. In African countries that do perform pacing, sites and trained implanters are few, with 17 countries having fewer than five centers each. The median implantation rate in 2016 in Africa was 2.66%, which is 200-fold lower than Europe.

The statement examines four main barriers to pacing in Africa--lack of skilled implanters, lack of facilities for implantation, high cost of devices and lack of government support--and offers solutions for how to address these barriers. Researchers focus on improving local training and fellowship programs so trainees do not have to leave the continent for specialized instruction, collaborating with local governments to subsidize equipment, and ensuring quality assurance of implanting centers and clinicians through AFHRA oversight.
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The American College of Cardiology envisions a world where innovation and knowledge optimize cardiovascular care and outcomes. As the professional home for the entire cardiovascular care team, the mission of the College and its 54,000 members is to transform cardiovascular care and to improve heart health. The ACC bestows credentials upon cardiovascular professionals who meet stringent qualifications and leads in the formation of health policy, standards and guidelines. The College also provides professional medical education, disseminates cardiovascular research through its world-renowned JACC Journals, operates national registries to measure and improve care, and offers cardiovascular accreditation to hospitals and institutions. For more, visit The Journal of the American College of Cardiology ranks among the top cardiovascular journals in the world for its scientific impact. JACC is the flagship for a family of journals--JACC: Cardiovascular Interventions, JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging, JACC: Heart Failure, JACC: Clinical Electrophysiology, JACC: Basic to Translational Science, JACC: Case Reports and JACC: CardioOncology--that prides themselves in publishing the top peer-reviewed research on all aspects of cardiovascular disease. Learn more at
American College of Cardiology

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