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      Heart Disease in Adult Syrian Refugees: Experience at Jordan University Hospital

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          Abstract

          Background:

          Since 2011, 1.26 million Syrians have immigrated to Jordan, increasing demands on Healthcare service. Information about cardiovascular disease (CVD) in Syrian refugees in general, and specifically in Jordan, is unknown.

          Objectives:

          The study aimed to describe CVD in Syrian refugee adults who were referred to Jordan University Hospital (JUH) in terms of diagnosis, presentation, outcome, sources of funding for treatment, and to follow these patients after their discharge.

          Methods:

          From January 2012 to October 2016, retrospective analysis was performed on the data of Syrian patients who were referred to JUH. This study describes the diagnoses, treatment, and outcome. It also discusses the funding sources; a follow-up was conducted until January 2017.

          Results:

          There were 969 patients referred to JUH with CVD; median age was 56 years, 686 (72.2%) of them were males and 283 (27.8%) were females. Of the patients, 584 had hypertension (60%), 308 (31%) had diabetes mellitus, 281 (29.0%) suffered from dyslipidemia, and 237 were smokers (24%). There were 69.6% who had coronary artery disease (CAD) and 20 patients (2%) had valvular heart disease. Treatment was offered to 489 patients (49.5%), but only 322 (65.8% of treatment offered and 33.2% of referrals) of them received the intended treatment. Mortality rate was 3% and loss of follow-up was 49.2%. Funding for procedures mostly came from the Jordanian Health Aid Organization, the United Nations, NGOs, and charities. Sixty-four (13.3% of referred) patients were denied any funding during the time frame of this study.

          Conclusions:

          CVD is a major issue for both Syrian refugee patients and the Jordanian healthcare system. CAD and classic cardiovascular risk factors (specifically arterial hypertension, diabetes, and dyslipidemia) are most common in this specific population. Inadequate primary healthcare, suboptimal living conditions, lack of funding, and loss of patient contact are among the major challenges facing this vulnerable population.

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          Most cited references11

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          Prevalence and care-seeking for chronic diseases among Syrian refugees in Jordan

          Background There are currently more people displaced by conflict than at any time since World War II. The profile of displaced populations has evolved with displacement increasingly occurring in urban and middle-income settings. Consequently, an epidemiological shift away from communicable diseases that have historically characterized refugee populations has occurred. The high prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) poses a challenge to in terms of provision of appropriate secondary and tertiary services, continuity of care, access to medications, and costs. In light of the increasing burden of NCDs faced by refugees, we undertook this study to characterize the prevalence of NCDs and better understand issues related to care-seeking for NCDs among Syrian refugees in non-camp settings in Jordan. Methods A cross-sectional survey of 1550 refugees was conducted using a multi-stage cluster design with probability proportional to size sampling to obtain a nationally representative sample of Syrian refugees outside of camps. To obtain information on chronic conditions, respondents were asked a series of questions about hypertension, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and arthritis. Differences by care-seeking for these conditions were examined using chi-square and t-test methods and characteristics of interest were included in the adjusted logistic regression model. Results Among adults, hypertension prevalence was the highest (9.7 %, CI: 8.8–10.6), followed by arthritis (6.8 %, CI: 5.9–7.6), diabetes (5.3 %, CI: 4.6–6.0), chronic respiratory diseases (3.1 %, CI: 2.4–3.8), and cardiovascular disease (3.7 %, CI: 3.2, 4.3). Of the 1363 NCD cases, 84.7 % (CI: 81.6–87.3) received care in Jordan; of the five NCDs assessed, arthritis cases had the lowest rates of care seeking at 65 %, (CI:0–88, p = 0.005). Individuals from households in which the head completed post-secondary and primary education, respectively, had 89 % (CI: 22–98) and 88 % (CI: 13–98) lower odds of seeking care than those with no education (p = 0.028 and p = 0.037, respectively). Refugees in North Jordan were most likely to seek care for their condition; refugees in Central Jordan had 68 % (CI: 1–90) lower odds of care-seeking than those in the North (p = 0.047). Conclusion More than half of Syrian refugee households in Jordan reported a member with a NCD. A significant minority did not receive care, citing cost as the primary barrier. As funding limitations persist, identifying the means to maintain and improve access to NCD care for Syrian refugees in Jordan is essential.
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            Cardiovascular health among adults in Syria: a model from developing countries.

            Despite the considerable mortality and morbidity associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD), many developing countries lack reliable surveillance of these ailments and their risk factors to guide intervention. This study aims to provide the first population-based estimates of CVD morbidity and mortality among adults in Aleppo, Syria and the distribution of their risk factors. A cross-sectional survey of adults 18 to 65 years old residing in Aleppo, Syria was carried out in 2004, involving 2038 household representatives (45.2% men; mean age, 35.3 years; response rate, 86%). Main outcomes of interest were physician-diagnosed CVD (infarction, angina, failure, stroke) among survey participants, and past 5-year mortality due to CVD among their household members older than 20 years of age (N = 6252, 49.5% men). Measurement of blood pressure (BP), height and weight, and smoking history were obtained as well. Prevalence of CVD was 4.8% for heart disease and 1.0% for stroke. CVD was responsible for 45.0% of overall mortality reported in the past 5 years, whereby 49% of CVD deaths occurred before the age of 65 years. Mean age of death was 62.6 years (63.6 years for heart disease and 61.4 years for stroke). Annual crude death rate due to CVD was 314 per 100,000 (95% confidence interval [95% CI]: 215-414); of these, 179 were due to heart disease, and 135 due to stroke. More men than women died from heart disease, whereas the opposite was true for stroke. Hypertension was detected in 40.6% (47.7% men, 34.9%women), obesity in 38.2% (28.8% men, 46.4% women), and smoking (cigarettes or waterpipe) in 38.7% (63.6% men, 19.2% women) of participants. Of those surveyed, 39.3% had one CVD risk factor, 27.4% had two risk factors, and 8.3% had 3 risk factors. Main predictors of clustering of risk factors were older age, male gender, and low education. Syria is currently undergoing a stage in which morbidity and mortality from CVD are high but likely to increase based on the population's risk profile. CVD risk distribution in Syrian society highlights the non-generalizability of CVD models from developed societies, and calls for local studies to inform effective interventions and policies.
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              Health Service Utilization among Syrian Refugees with Chronic Health Conditions in Jordan

              Introduction The influx of Syrian refugees into Jordan presents an immense burden to the Jordanian health system, particularly in treating chronic health conditions. This study was undertaken to assess utilization of health services for chronic health conditions among Syrian refugees in non-camp settings. Methods A survey of Syrian refugees in Jordan was undertaken in June 2014 to characterize health seeking behaviors and issues related to accessing care for hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, and arthritis. A cluster design with probability proportional to size sampling was used to attain a nationally representative sample of 1550 non-camp Syrian refugee households. Results Of 1363 cases with a chronic health condition diagnosis, 84.7% had received care in Jordan. Public facilities faced a heavy burden serving over half (53.9%) of care-seekers; the remainder received care in the private (29.6%) and NGO/charity (16.6%) sectors. Individuals with non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the central region of Jordan and with arthritis had the lowest rates of care-seeking when compared to other regions and conditions. Overall, 31.6% of care-seekers had an out-of-pocket payment for the most recent care-seeking event which averaged 18.8 USD (median = 0 USD), excluding cost of medications. Discussion Forced displacement presents major challenges to those with NCDs, which have the potential to seriously impact both the quality of life and life expectancy amongst refugees. NCD patterns among Syrian refugees indicate the importance of continuing support to public sector services in Jordan to adequately meet expanding needs and ensure appropriate prevention and control of priority NCDs.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Ann Glob Health
                Ann Glob Health
                2214-9996
                Annals of Global Health
                Ubiquity Press
                2214-9996
                14 March 2019
                2019
                : 85
                : 1
                Affiliations
                [1 ]General Surgery Department, School of Medicine, The University of Jordan, Amman, JO
                [2 ]Dept. of Cardiac Surgery University Munich, DE
                Author notes
                Corresponding author: Amjad Bani Hani ( amjadbh@ 123456yahoo.com )
                Article
                10.5334/aogh.2474
                6634320
                30896135
                e414c23e-6a24-438a-beee-8288f6351a6e
                Copyright: © 2019 The Author(s)

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

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