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UFS doctors partner Germans on heart disease research

Sunday 4 June 15:48

Thabiso Radebe

The University of the Free State will team with Charite University in Germany to research Cardiomyophathy.

University of The Free State News, The University of the Free State will team with Charite University in Germany to research Cardiomyophathy. (SABC)

A team of cardiac doctors at the University of the Free State has begun a research project concerning Dilating Cardiomyopathy, which is a fatal heart muscle failure.

The disease which weakens the heart muscle is prevalent among African people.

The University is teaming up with Professor Heinz Schultheis from Charite University in Germany.

The team of researchers say to date there is no curable treatment for this condition and 50 % of patients that have shown heart failure died within five years.

Head of the University of the Free State’s Cardiology department, Professor Mokoali Makatoko, says there are 1 500 new cases linked to this heart disease identified annually at the University’s Academic Hospital in Bloemfontein.

“We are looking at this disease of Dilated Cardiomyophathy, especially the ones who don’t know the cause – it is called Cardiomyophathy, it is the second leading cause of heart failure which comes after hypertension, and it is followed by rheumatic heart valve disease.”

The disease which weakens the heart muscle is prevalent among African and young people.

Makatoko says 30 % of those cases are attributed to heart muscle disease.

“What we plan to do is to take biopsies of the heart muscle send them to Germany, where they will look at biopsies and do modern studies to see amounts of viruses. If we find them we will be identifying which ones are those.”

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