• Hypertension in older adults in Africa: A systematic review and meta-analysis

      Bosu, W.K.; Reilly, Siobhan T.; Aheto, J.M.K.; Zucchelli, E. (2019-04)
      Background: Hypertension is the leading driver of cardiovascular disease deaths in Africa. Its prevalence is highest in older populations. Yet, this group has received little attention in many African countries. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis (PROSPERO registration: CRD42017056474) to estimate the prevalence of hypertension in older adults living in Africa. Methods: We searched grey literature and major electronic databases including PubMed and Embase for population-based studies and published between 1 January 1980 to 28 May 2018 reporting the prevalence of hypertension for adults aged ≥50 years living in Africa. We employed a random effects model to estimate the pooled prevalence across included studies. Findings: We screened 10,719 articles and retrieved 103 full-text articles to evaluate for inclusion in the review. Thirty-four unique studies providing 37 data points on 43,025 individuals in 15 African countries were analyzed. The prevalence of hypertension ranged from 22.3% to 90.0% from the individual studies while the overall pooled prevalence was 57.0% (95% CI 52%-61%). The prevalence was not statistically significantly different by sex, residence, or African sub-region. In individual studies, older age and overweight/obesity were independently associated with hypertension. Twenty-nine (78%) data points were deemed to be of low- or moderate-risk of bias. Eliminating high-risk bias studies made little difference to the pooled estimate of hypertension. Sensitivity analyses, omitting one study at a time, identified three studies with significant but relatively small impact on the pooled estimate. We observed substantial heterogeneity (I2 = 98.9%) across the studies which was further explored by meta-regression analyses. Overall, the GRADE assessment suggested moderate quality evidence in the results. Conclusion: The persistent high prevalence of hypertension among older adults in Africa, even in rural populations warrants more attention to the cardiovascular health of this group by public health authorities