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The Burden of Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors in the Middle East: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Focusing on Primary Prevention

[ Vol. 19 , Issue. 4 ]


Akshaya Srikanth Bhagavathula*, Abdullah Shehab, Anhar Ullah and Jamal Rahmani   Pages 379 - 389 ( 11 )


Background: The increasing incidence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) threatens the Middle Eastern population. Several epidemiological studies have assessed CVD and its risk factors in terms of the primary prevention of CVD in the Middle East. Therefore, summarizing the information from these studies is essential.

Aim: We conducted a systematic review to assess the prevalence of CVD and its major risk factors among Middle Eastern adults based on the literature published between January 1, 2012, and December 31, 2018, and carried out a meta-analysis.

Methods: We searched electronic databases such as PubMed/Medline, ScienceDirect, Embase and Google Scholar to identify literature published from January 1, 2012, to December 31, 2018. All the original articles that investigated the prevalence of CVD and reported at least one of the following factors were included: hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidaemia, smoking and family history of CVD. To summarize CVD prevalence, we performed a random-effects meta-analysis.

Results: A total of 41 potentially relevant articles were included, and 32 were included in the metaanalysis (n=191,979). The overall prevalence of CVD was 10.1% (95% confidence interval (CI): 7.1- 14.3%, p<0.001) in the Middle East. A high prevalence of CVD risk factors, such as dyslipidaemia (43.3%; 95% CI: 21.5-68%), hypertension (26.2%; 95% CI: 19.6-34%) and diabetes (16%; 95% CI: 9.9- 24.8%), was observed. The prevalence rates of other risk factors, such as smoking (12.4%; 95% CI: 7.7- 19.4%) and family history of CVD (18.7%; 95% CI: 15.4-22.5%), were also high.

Conclusion: The prevalence of CVD is high (10.1%) in the Middle East. The burden of dyslipidaemia (43.3%) in this region is twice as high as that of hypertension (26.2%) and diabetes mellitus (16%). Multifaceted interventions are urgently needed for the primary prevention of CVD in this region.


Cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidaemia, prevalence, Middle East.


Institute of Public Health, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, UAE University, Al Ain, Interventional Cardiologist, Department of Cardiology, Al Ain Hospital, Al Ain, Department of Cardiac Science, King Fahad Cardiac Center, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Department of Community Nutrition, Student Research Committee, Faculty of Nutrition and Food Technology, National Nutrition and Food Technology Research Institute, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran

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