Outcome of life-threatening arrhythmias among patients presenting in an emergency setting at a tertiary hospital in Accra-Ghana

Alfred Doku* (Corresponding Author), Bernard Yeboah-Asiamah Asare, Richard Osei, Christian Owoo, Robert Djagbletey, Joseph Akamah, Ernest Aniteye, Dzifa Ahadzi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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BACKGROUND: Management of life-threatening arrhythmia can be incredibly challenging in advanced health systems. In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), this is likely more challenging because of weak pre-hospital and in-hospital critical care systems. Little is known about life-threatening arrhythmia and their outcomes in SSA. The aim of this study was to examine the types and outcomes of arrhythmias among haemodynamically unstable patients presenting at a tertiary hospital in Accra-Ghana.

METHOD: This was a retrospective case series study conducted at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH), Accra-Ghana. Medical records of patients who presented with or developed haemodynamically unstable arrhythmias within 24h of admission from January 2018 to December 2020 were reviewed. The demographic characteristics and clinical data including outcomes of patients were collected. Descriptive statistics were used and results presented in frequency tables.

RESULTS: A total of 42 patients with life-threatening arrhythmias were included. Haemodynamically unstable tachyarrhythmias were the most common arrhythmias found among the patients (66.7%). Approximately 52% of patients had structural heart diseases whereas 26.2% had no apparent underlying cause or predisposing factor. Cardioversion (52.4%), commonly electrical (63.6%), and transvenous pacemaker implantation (23.8%) were the common initial interventions. The majority of the patients (88.1%) survived and were discharged home.

CONCLUSION: Tachyarrhythmias are the most common haemodynamically unstable arrhythmias seen among patients presenting emergently in a leading tertiary hospital in Ghana. A high survival rate was observed and cannot be extrapolated to other healthcare settings in sub-Saharan Africa with limited resources to manage these clinical entities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number361
Number of pages7
JournalBMC Cardiovascular Disorders
Publication statusPublished - 7 Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We express our appreciation to the authorities at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital for their support and to the participants of this important study.


  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac/diagnosis
  • Ghana/epidemiology
  • Hospitals, Teaching
  • Humans
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tertiary Care Centers
  • Bradycardia
  • Tachycardia
  • Arrhythmia
  • Ghana
  • Emergency
  • Management


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