On 20th November 2021, Getz Pharma participated in the 50th CardioCon 2021, organized by the Pakistan Cardiac Society. At the event, Getz Pharma introduced the Pakistan Study of Premature Coronary Atherosclerosis in Young Adults (PAK-SEHAT) study amongst the leading world-class cardiology experts. At the event, the principal investigator of the PAK-SEHAT study, Dr. Bashir Hanif, Executive Medical Director, Tabba Heart Institute, explained the design, methodology & outcomes of the study. Dr. Wajiha Javed, Head of Public Health & Research, Getz Pharma, spoke about ‘Primary Prevention & Health Policy’ at the forum, followed by a Q&A style panel discussion.
Prevalence of Cardiovascular Disease:
According to World Health Organization (WHO), Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is one of the leading causes of mortality worldwide, causing approximately 32% of annual deaths. The risk of cholesterol-associated CVD varies among different ethnicities; however, the risk is four-fold in the South Asian (SA) Population compared to other races. Furthermore, almost 75% of all CVD deaths are in low and middle-income countries (LMIC), with finite health resources and many health-seeking barriers.
The state of heart diseases in Pakistan also reflects a concerning picture. In 2018, coronary heart disease deaths in Pakistan reached 20% of total deaths, and Pakistan ranks 18 in cardiac mortality in the global ranking, reports WHO. Moreover, the numbers of potential CVD risk factors, including hypertension and diabetes, are also alarming in Pakistan, with 50% hypertension and 17.1% diabetes in the adult population. There is a drastic shift in CVD occurrence in young ages in the SA population, as evidenced by the groundbreaking INTERHEART study suggesting 10.6% of SA participants presented with a heart attack at <40 years of age.
About PAK-SEHAT project:
PAK-SEHAT is a joint collaborative effort of Getz Pharma and Tabba Heart Institute. It is a first-of-its-kind, 10-year nationwide longitudinal cohort study on atherosclerotic risk assessment in the young Pakistani population. PAK-SEHAT study will help determine risk factors for coronary heart disease so that early detection can be done and disease can be prevented rather than treated. This study aims to recruit healthy volunteers <40 years of age from Pakistan’s selected urban and rural areas, asymptomatic and with no cardiovascular disease. This would allow for assessing the participants’ risk factor profiles and follow them up for at least five years to document the incidence of ASCVD.
While Pakistan is the second-most populous country in South Asia, most of the data on the prevalence of ASCVD from South Asian regions is derived from India. As a result, the Pakistani population is highly underrepresented in global research. There is currently no comprehensive database on the native Pakistani Population to assess the likelihood of developing ASCVD. Due to this high burden of disease, there is an urgent need for primary prevention and early screening for ASCVD in Pakistan. Therefore, this study primarily envisions screening the Pakistani individuals at a younger generation to prevent increasing CVD burden in the future.
The objectives of PAK-SEHAT includes:
1. To characterize the prevalence and severity of subclinical coronary atherosclerosis among young Pakistani men and women free of clinical CVD
2. To understand the impact, in terms of 5-year rates of cardiovascular events, by using the prognostic information provided by cardiac CTA and the other study tests and measurements to optimize cardiovascular prevention management in young Pakistanis.
The findings from a study of this scale can provide groundbreaking results. It would help in informing future health policy targeting the native Pakistani Population, and it would allow early interventions for patients with risk of ASCVD from a younger age. Getz Pharma and Tabba Heart Institute are proud to lead an initiative of this scale to contribute to the growing research database in Pakistan and promote early screening and prevention for cardiovascular diseases in the country.
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