Pulmonary hypertension in developing countries: Limiting factors in time to diagnosis, specialised medications and contextualised recommendations

G J G Maarman


Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a fatal disease with no cure. Combination therapy that includes several specialised medications can improve survival and quality of life. However, there are many challenges, and these include a lack of effective screening tools, misdiagnosis and late diagnosis, a lack of awareness among clinicians and patients, expensive PH medication and the unavailability of these medications in many developing countries. Based on the literature, this paper provides helpful approaches and ‘out of the box’ ideas to try to surmount these challenges. We make the following recommendations: develop better (contextually fitting) screening tools, investigate novel therapeutics or novel drug targets, implement incentivised and accredited training for clinicians and implement awareness campaigns (by using traditional and social media and promoting awareness at healthcare or educational institutions). Other recommendations include greater advocacy that engages public and private funders, combine scarce skills and networks of social sciences and implementation sciences and invite nonprofit organisations to the fight against PH in conjunction with researchers. Furthermore, the implementation of breathlessness clinics in rural areas can be helpful, as well as the investigation of the biomarker potential of genetic mutations or unique gene signatures of patients during research. We hope that healthcare professionals, researchers, scientists and regulatory authorities or research bodies, can use our recommendations in a practical setting, especially in developing countries where resources are limited and the healthcare burden is high.

Author's affiliations

G J G Maarman, Centre for Cardio-Metabolic Research in Africa, Division of Medical Physiology, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa

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Cite this article

African Journal of Thoracic and Critical Care Medicine 2022;28(1):28.

Article History

Date submitted: 2022-05-05
Date published: 2022-05-05

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