PROTEA, A Southern African Multicenter Congenital Heart Disease Registry and Biorepository: Rationale, Design, and Initial Results

Thomas Aldersley, John Lawrenson, Paul Human, Gasnat Shaboodien, Blanche Cupido, George Comitis, Rik De Decker, Barend Fourie, Lenise Swanson, Alexia Joachim, Phaphama Magadla, Malebogo Ngoepe, Liam Swanson, Alistair Revell, Raj Ramesar, Andre Brooks, Nicole Saacks, Bianca De Koning, Karen Sliwa, John AnthonyAyesha Osman, Bernard Keavney, Liesl Zühlke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Downloads (Pure)


Objectives: The PartneRships in cOngeniTal hEart disease (PROTEA) project aims to establish a densely phenotyped and genotyped Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) cohort for southern Africa. This will facilitate research into the epidemiology and genetic determinants of CHD in the region. This paper introduces the PROTEA project, characterizes its initial cohort, from the Western Cape Province of South Africa, and compares the proportion or “cohort-prevalences” of CHD-subtypes with international findings.

Methods: PROTEA is a prospective multicenter CHD registry and biorepository. The initial cohort was recruited from seven hospitals in the Western Cape Province of South Africa from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2019. All patients with structural CHD were eligible for inclusion. Descriptive data for the preliminary cohort are presented. In addition, cohort-prevalences (i.e., the proportion of patients within the cohort with a specific CHD-subtype) of 26 CHD-subtypes in PROTEA's pediatric cohort were compared with the cohort-prevalences of CHD-subtypes in two global birth-prevalence studies.

Results: The study enrolled 1,473 participants over 2 years, median age was 1.9 (IQR 0.4–7.1) years. Predominant subtypes included ventricular septal defect (VSD) (339, 20%), atrial septal defect (ASD) (174, 11%), patent ductus arteriosus (185, 11%), atrioventricular septal defect (AVSD) (124, 7%), and tetralogy of Fallot (121, 7%). VSDs were 1.8 (95% CI, 1.6–2.0) times and ASDs 1.4 (95% CI, 1.2–1.6) times more common in global prevalence estimates than in PROTEA's pediatric cohort. AVSDs were 2.1 (95% CI, 1.7–2.5) times more common in PROTEA and pulmonary stenosis and double outlet right ventricle were also significantly more common compared to global estimates. Median maternal age at delivery was 28 (IQR 23–34) years. Eighty-two percent (347/425) of mothers used no pre-conception supplementation and 42% (105/250) used no first trimester supplements.

Conclusions: The cohort-prevalence of certain mild CHD subtypes is lower than for international estimates and the cohort-prevalence of certain severe subtypes is higher. PROTEA is not a prevalence study, and these inconsistencies are unlikely the result of true differences in prevalence. However, these findings may indicate under-diagnosis of mild to moderate CHD and differences in CHD management and outcomes. This reemphasizes the need for robust CHD epidemiological research in the region.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFrontiers in pediatrics
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'PROTEA, A Southern African Multicenter Congenital Heart Disease Registry and Biorepository: Rationale, Design, and Initial Results'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this