• 'We Are Still Challenged to be Dissatisfied' Editorial

  • Untitled document Letters

  • Cardiovascular health in the Americas: facts, priorities and the UN high-level meeting on non-communicable diseases Policy & Practice

    Ordúñez, Pedro

    Abstract in English:

    Population aging, smoking, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity, in the context of globalization and unregulated urbanization, explain the high prevalences of hypertension, hypercholesterolemia and diabetes in the Americas, making cardiovascular diseases the main cause of death. Moreover, cardiovascular diseases and their risk factors disproportionately affect the poorest people, obstructing antipoverty efforts and further deepening health and other inequities. The global crisis of chronic non-communicable diseases has reached such proportions that the UN General Assembly called a high-level meeting in September 2011 to address the issue as one of human development, aiming to stimulate political commitment to a concerted global effort to stem the pandemic. In reference to the Americas, this article reviews the burden of cardiovascular diseases and describes priorities for strategies and action in the region and their relation to the results of the UN meeting.
  • New survey results enhance Cuba's NCD surveillance: Mariano Bonet MD - Director, National Hygiene, Epidemiology and Microbiology Institute Interview

    Reed, Gail
  • Untitled document Erratum

  • Chronic kidney disease and associated risk factors in the Bajo Lempa region of El Salvador: nefrolempa study, 2009 Original Research

    Orantes, Carlos M.; Herrera, Raúl; Almaguer, Miguel; Brizuela, Elsy G.; Hernández, Carlos E.; Bayarre, Héctor; Amaya, Juan C.; Calero, Denis J.; Orellana, Patricia; Colindres, Rosa M.; Velázquez, María E.; Núñez, Sonia G.; Contreras, Verónica Mabel; Castro, Bertha E.

    Abstract in English:

    INTRODUCTION: In El Salvador, end-stage renal disease is the leading cause of hospital deaths in adults, the second cause of death in men and the fifth leading cause of death in adults of both sexes in the general population. OBJECTIVE: Identify risk factors for chronic kidney disease and urinary markers of renal and vascular damage, measure kidney function and characterize prevalence of chronic kidney disease in persons aged >18 years in the Bajo Lempa region of El Salvador. METHODS: A cross-sectional analytical epidemiological study was carried out using active screening for chronic kidney disease and associated risk factors in individuals aged >18 years in the Bajo Lempa Region, a rural, coastal area in El Salvador. Door-to-door visits and clinical examinations were conducted. Epidemiological and clinical data were collected including: family and personal clinical history of disease; biological, behavioral, social and environmental risk factors; physical measurements; urinalysis for markers of renal and vascular damage; and blood tests (serum creatinine, serum glucose, lipid profile). Glomerular filtration rate was calculated using the Modification of Diet in Renal Disease formula. Chronic kidney disease case confirmation was done three months later. Multiple logistic regression was used for data analysis. RESULTS: A total of 375 families and 775 individuals (343 men, 432 women) were studied-88.3% of the total resident population in the region. Elevated prevalence of risk factors was observed: diabetes mellitus, 10.3%; hypertension,16.9%; family history of chronic kidney disease, 21.6%; dyslipidemias, 63.1%; overweight, 34%; obesity, 22.4%; metabolic syndrome, 28.8%; use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, 74.8%; infectious diseases, 86.9%; agricultural occupation, 40.6% (80.6% in men); and contact with agrochemicals, 50.3% (82.5% in men). Prevalence renal damage markers was 15.8% (greater in men): microalbuminuria 6.3%; proteinuria 5.7%; hematuria 3.5%; proteinuria-hematuria 0.3%. Proteinuria of <1 g/L predominated. Prevalence of chronic kidney disease was 17.9% (25.7% in men; 11.8% in women). Distribution by stages: stage 1, 4.6%; stage 2, 3.5%; stage 3, 6.2%; stage 4, 3.0%; stage 5, 0.6%. In patients with chronic kidney disease, most common was non-diabetic chronic kidney disease (86.3%), followed by chronic kidney disease associated with neither diabetes nor hypertension (54.7%). Prevalence of chronic renal failure was 9.8% (17% in men; 4.1% in women). Multiple logistic regression showed significant association with increasing age, male sex, hypertension and family history of chronic kidney disease. CONCLUSIONS: Elevated prevalence of chronic kidney disease, chronic renal failure and risk factors was found, compared to international reports. Most common was chronic kidney disease of unknown cause, associated with neither diabetes nor hypertension. Associations were found with age, male sex, hypertension and family history of chronic kidney disease, with decline in kidney function beginning at early ages. Male farmers have a dual burden of non traditional (occupational, toxic environmental) and traditional (vascular) risk factors that could act in synergy, contributing to kidney damage.
  • Acute myocardial infarction incidence, mortality and case fatality in Santa Clara, Cuba, 2007-2008 Original Research

    Morales, Alberto; Madrazo, Yuri; Ramírez, José I.; Castañeda, Luis; Machín, Wilfredo; Álvarez, Licet; Angulo, Regla; Dueñas, Raúl; Bermúdez, Roberto

    Abstract in English:

    INTRODUCTION: Information on acute myocardial infarction incidence and mortality is essential for determining the efficacy of the health system's cardiovascular disease prevention activities; however, in Cuba, sufficient data related to acute myocardial infarction are lacking, particularly at the local level. OBJECTIVE: Describe acute myocardial infarction incidence, mortality and case fatality rates from January 2007 through December 2008 in persons aged 45-74 in the municipality of Santa Clara, Villa Clara Province, Cuba. METHODS: A retrospective descriptive study was conducted. The World Health Organization MONItoring Trends and Determinants in CArdiovascular Disease Project (MONICA) methodology was used, but only in part, since out-of-hospital case fatalities were not investigated, resulting in insufficient data for such cases. Cases of acute myocardial infarction covered under MONICA definition 1 were included (non-fatal definite, fatal definite, fatal possible, and unclassifiable deaths). Hospitalized patients were followed for 28 days. Incidence, mortality and case fatality rates in the population were calculated by age group (45-54, 55-64 and 65-74 years) and sex. Age-standardized incidence and mortality rates were calculated using the direct method, with the world population as a reference. RESULTS: A total of 482 cases of acute myocardial infarction were registered. The percentage of cases of non-fatal definite, fatal definite, fatal possible and fatal with insufficient data were 32%, 18.3%, 26.3% and 13.9% respectively. The cumulative age-standardized incidence per 100,000 population was 433 (95% CI 365-501) in men and 195 (95% CI 152-237) in women, while mortality per 100,000 population was 242 (95% CI 192-292) in men and 120 (95% CI 87-153) in women. Case fatality was 56.4% in men and 62.6% in women. Most fatal cases (65.6%) occurred out of hospital, a trend that was more marked in men (73.9%) than in women (51%). CONCLUSIONS: Case fatality from acute myocardial infarction in Santa Clara residents was high, especially in women. Two thirds of fatalities occurred out of hospital, a higher proportion of these deaths in men. It is recommended that the AMI registry be completed by investigating out-of-hospital case fatalities with insufficient data; expanding it to include the 35-44 age group; and that the supply of cardiac marker enzyme immunoassay test kits in Santa Clara be stabilized.
  • Dementia and other chronic diseases in older adults in Havana and Matanzas: the 10/66 study in Cuba Original Research

    Llibre, Juan de Jesús; Valhuerdi, Adolfo; Calvo, Marina; García, Rosa M.; Guerra, Milagros; Laucerique, Tania; López, Ana M.; Llibre, Juan Carlos; Noriega, Lisseth; Sánchez, Isis Y.; Porto, Rudbeskia; Arencibia, Francis; Marcheco, Beatriz; Moreno, Carmen

    Abstract in English:

    INTRODUCTION: Chronic non-communicable diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide, except in Sub-Saharan Africa. Nonetheless, one of these conditions, dementia, is the major contributor to disability-adjusted life years in people aged >60 years. Few epidemiological studies exist of the prevalence and impact of dementia and selected chronic diseases in older adults in Latin America. OBJECTIVE: Describe prevalence of dementia, other chronic vascular diseases and cardiovascular risk factors, as well as resulting disabilities and care needs generated in adults aged >65 years in Havana City and Matanzas provinces, Cuba. METHODS: The 10/66 study is a prospective longitudinal study involving a cohort of 3015 adults aged >65 years in municipalities of Havana City and Matanzas provinces, divided into two phases: a cross-sectional door-to-door study conducted in 2003-2006, and a follow-up and assessment phase in 2007-2010. This article reports findings from the first phase. Hypertension diagnosis was based on criteria from the International Society for Hypertension; diabetes mellitus on American Diabetes Association criteria; stroke according to WHO definitions; and dementia according to criteria of the American Psychiatric Society's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-IV and the 10/66 International Dementia Research Group. Ischemic heart disease was defined by self-report of previous physician diagnosis. Study variables included age, sex, educational level, substance use (alcohol, tobacco) and dietary habits. A structured physical and neurological exam, including blood pressure measurement, was performed on all participants. Laboratory tests included complete blood count, fasting blood glucose, total cholesterol and lipoprotein fractions, triglycerides and apolipoprotein E genotype. Prevalence and standardized morbidity ratios (crude and adjusted) were calculated for chronic diseases studied with 95% confidence intervals, using a Poisson regression model and indirect standardization. RESULTS: The study assessed 2944 older adults (response rate 97.6%) and found high prevalence of vascular risk factors and of chronic non-communicable diseases: hypertension 73.0% (95% CI 71.4-74.7), diabetes mellitus 24.8% (95% CI 22.9-26.5), ischemic heart disease 14.1% (95% CI 12.9-15.4), dementia 10.8% (95% CI 9.7-12.0) and stroke 7.8% (95% CI 6.9-8.8). The majority of participants (85%) had more than one cardiovascular risk factor. The main cause of disability and dependency in the study population was dementia. CONCLUSION: The high prevalence of chronic diseases observed in the elderly-with the consequent morbidity, disability and dependency-highlights the need for prevention, early diagnosis and risk factor control, particularly given the demographic and epidemiologic transition faced by Cuba and other developing countries.
  • Tobacco and alcohol use in Cuban women Original Research

    Varona, Patricia; Chang, Martha; García, René G.; Bonet, Mariano

    Abstract in English:

    INTRODUCTION: Tobacco and alcohol are currently the most widely consumed legal psychoactive substances in the world. They represent a heavy burden for health and society in almost all populations. Increasing consumption of both substances is a trend observed in women. OBJECTIVE: Describe the profile of women aged >15 years residing in urban areas of Cuba with respect to tobacco and alcohol consumption. METHOD: Basic information on tobacco and alcohol consumption by Cubans aged >15 years in urban areas was obtained from the Second National Survey on Risk Factors and Chronic Diseases (2001), a national descriptive cross-sectional study, the objective of which was to determine the frequency and epidemiological characteristics of the urban population's main chronic disease risk factors. Sampling design was complex stratified multi-stage cluster. Of a sample of 23,743 individuals, 22,851 were surveyed, representative of 6.8 million Cubans. A questionnaire and structured interview were used. Variables were tobacco and alcohol use, as well as sociodemographic factors: sex, age, educational level, skin color, marital status, type of full-time employment and perceived economic situation. Prevalence, with 95% confidence intervals, and male:female prevalence ratios were estimated. RESULTS: Women who smoked were predominantly aged 40-59 years; had completed less than university education; of black skin color; divorced; laborers, service workers or managers, and with a perceived economic situation as very poor. Women who consumed alcohol were predominantly aged 15-59 years, had at least middle school education, of mestizo or black skin color, of marital status other than widowed; there was no typical profile for occupation or perceived economic situation. Women who were both smokers and alcohol consumers were predominantly 20-59 years, of black or mestizo skin color, of marital status other than widowed; with no typical profile for educational level, occupation or perceived economic situation. CONCLUSIONS: The first nationwide socioeconomic profile of Cuban women using tobacco, alcohol or both constitutes a baseline for comparison to results of a new national study now under way, permitting evaluation of trends over time and effectiveness of prevention and control efforts.
  • Role of herpesvirus as a cause of mononucleosis-like and febrile syndromes in Cuba, 2006-2009 Original Research

    Correa, Consuelo; Martínez, Pedro A.; Pérez, Lissette; Álvarez, Alina; Alemán, Yoan; Soto, Yudira; Kourí, Vivian

    Abstract in English:

    INTRODUCTION: Herpesvirus infections are prevalent worldwide, but most run their course asymptomatically. Clinical presentations in symptomatic cases vary widely and include febrile and mononucleosis-like syndromes. In immunocompromised patients, herpetic infection can be lethal and routine laboratory tests are of little use. Use of novel techniques may provide important improvements in diagnosis and treatment of these patients. OBJECTIVE: Investigate association between different herpesviruses and the etiology of mononucleosis and febrile syndromes in Cuban immunocompetent and immunocompromised patients. METHODS: The study used multiplex nested polymerase chain reaction, enabling simultaneous detection of six herpesviruses-cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex (1 and 2), Epstein-Barr, varicella-zoster and human herpesvirus 6-to study 1157 samples (770 urine and 387 serum samples) from 1140 patients with mononucleosis-like syndrome or febrile syndrome, classified according to history of immunosuppressive disease. Samples were analyzed at the Laboratory for Sexually Transmitted Diseases (Virology) of the Pedro Kourí Tropical Medicine Institute from January 2006 through December 2009. SPSS statistical package was used and incidence rates calculated. RESULTS: Of samples studied, 20.1% were positive for some herpesvirus. Higher risk of developing active herpesvirus infections was detected in samples from immunocompromised patients with febrile syndrome compared to those of immunocompetent ones (OR 2.02, CI 1.20-3.42, p=0.007). Cytomegalovirus was the most frequently found herpesvirus in both mononucleosis-like syndrome (60.4%) and febrile syndrome (63.6%) and in both children (69.2%) and adults (55.2%), followed by Epstein-Barr virus. Cytomegalovirus was detected in 68.9% of positive urine samples and in just 47.2% of serum samples. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first Cuban study demonstrating the pathogenic role of herpesviruses, particularly cytomegalovirus, in patients with febrile or mononucleosis-like syndrome, in both immunocompetent and immunocompromised patients. Results highlight the importance of including molecular diagnosis of the herpesvirus family in investigating mononucleosis and febrile syndromes of unknown etiology and demonstrate that etiologic diagnosis would not have been feasible in many cases without the use of this diagnostic tool.
  • Alcohol: friend or foe? Perspective

    González, Ricardo A.

    Abstract in English:

    Popular belief has it that alcohol, particularly red wine, protects against atherosclerosis and associated cardio- and cerebrovascular conditions. That presumption motivates this paper, which describes the mechanisms underlying the J-shaped risk curve for alcohol use, with benefits for vascular disease risk at low consumption levels and harmful effects-both directly on the user and indirectly on the bystander-at higher levels. The importance of further exploring alcohol use in patients with cardiovascular risk factors and of intervening to modify non-social use of alcohol to prevent serious adverse health consequences is also addressed.
  • Cuban research in current international journals Abstract

  • Women & smoking: becoming part of the solution Viewpoint

    Suárez, Nery
Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba Oakland - California - United States
E-mail: editors@medicc.org