Cardiovascular disease burden in the Middle East and North Africa region

Laith Alhuneafat, Omar Al Ta'ani, Ahmad Jabri, Tala Tarawneh, Adee ElHamdan, Abdallah Naser, Farah Al-Bitar, Nada Alrifai, Fares Ghanem, Khaldoon Alaswad, Mohammad Alqarqaz, Jeremy R. Van't Hof, Selcuk Adabag, Salim S. Virani

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Introduction: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the leading cause of death globally, including the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. However, limited research has been conducted on the burden of CVD in this region. Our study aims to investigate the burden of CVD and related risk factors in the MENA. Methods: We used data from the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2019 to examine CVD prevalence in 21 MENA countries. Prevalence and mortality were analyzed using Bayesian regression tools, demographic methods, and mortality-to-incidence ratios. Disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) were calculated, and risk factors were evaluated under the GBD's comparative risk assessment framework. Results: Between 1990 and 2019, CVD raw accounts in the MENA increased by 140.9%, while age standardized prevalence slightly decreased (-1.3%). CVD raw mortality counts rose by 78.3%, but age standardized death rates fell by 28%. Ischemic heart disease remained the most prevalent condition, with higher rates in men, while women had higher rates of CVA. Age standardized DALYs decreased by 32.54%. DALY rates varied across countries and were consistently higher in males. Leading risk factors included hypertension, high LDL-C, dietary risks, and elevated BMI. The countries with the three highest DALYs in 2019 were Afghanistan, Egypt, and Yemen. Conclusions: While strides have been made in lessening the CVD burden in the MENA region, the toll on mortality and morbidity, particularly from ischemic heart disease, remains significant. Country-specific variations call for tailored interventions addressing socio-economic factors, healthcare infrastructure, and political stability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102341
JournalCurrent Problems in Cardiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024


  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Global burden of disease
  • MENA
  • Middle East
  • North Africa


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