Echo in Africa
2014 Summary Report
The project ran over 8 weeks beginning 24th July and ending 24th October. There were a total of 89
volunteer placements over the eight weeks with 81 unique volunteers travelling to Cape Town.
The project was open to any BSE member. Priority was given to Accredited members, however, non
accredited members were open to apply with written confirmation from their Head of Department that the
prospective volunteer was actively scanning to a satisfactory level and independently in the department.
Resident Country distribution
United Kingdom & Northern Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Volunteer Accredited status
BSE Accreditation (or equivalent)
In process of Accreditation (written exam passed)
Not in process of Accreditation
Discipline breakdown
Cardiac Physiologists
Cardiologists (inc Consultants/Registrars/Retired)
The dates of the project were determined by the schools. We had to take into consideration the school
curriculum and there were particular periods of time where students would not have been taken out of
class such as exams around exams.
Students were selected by the school randomly, and shuttled to and from their school and the scanning
unit during normal school hours. Each student received an ECG and an echo. They were provided with a
sandwich lunch and also took part in and education session which covered general healthcare and
discussions about healthcare careers.
The timing limitations restricted the scanning “day” to 09:00 – 14:00. Each volunteer was allocated 50-60
minutes to perform and report each study.
Four schools took part in the project and a total of 1599 students were screened.
1) Rheumatic heart disease
The total number of cases requiring follow up, further investigation, therapy or prophylaxis for RHD was 67.
This includes the definite RHD cases based on the WHF criteria as well as the congenital and heart muscle
cases that require follow up. It also includes WHF borderline cases thought by the investigators to
represent true RHD cases usually on morphological grounds but excludes the borderline cases thought not
to represent RHD cases (i.e. WHF borderline cases based on the presence of a functional deficit i.e.
pathological MR with the presence of an alternative mechanism of MR not thought to be related to the
RHD process (note: Pathological here is typically very mild but conforms to the WHF criteria of pathological
versus functional in the context of screening amongst high prevalence RHD populations)).
- Definite cases based on the current WHF criteria – this is quite a rigorous group based on identifying both
a clear functional deficit and morphological valvular changes that strongly suggest RHD. The specificity of
this group is high but the sensitivity remains problematic.
- Borderline cases based on the current WHF criteria
The borderline category includes individuals who are likely to have had RHD but where the evidence to
support this is less rigorous and therefore by necessity includes individuals with an alternative diagnosis.
2) Congenital heart disease
Nine cases of Congenital heart disease requiring further investigation, follow up or intervention were
identified (PFOs, Aneurysmal septums and Chiari networks, LV tendons and redundant chords were
plentiful and are not included in this number).
3) Heart Muscle abnormalities
20 cases were identified. The majority of these represented heavy trabeculation that often fulfilled criteria
for LV non compaction but may in fact rather represent a normal variant.
No cases of DCM were identified.
4) Other…
One case of chicken pox
One case of gingival abscess – treated with incision and drainage by the dental dept
One simple hepatic cyst
One subdiaphragmatic cause of RV compression
One small pericardial effusion
The full project costs were shared between BSE and SUNHeart. The projected costs at commencement of
the project were approximately £139,000. This figure included the refurbishments costs, computers,
networking, logistics, insurances plus a 10% contingency.
Volunteers were required to make a £200 deposit and fundraise a minimum contribution amount of £500
(inclusive of the £200 deposit) for each week of attendance. The £500 amount was calculated based on 14
members volunteering each week, working over 12 stations, with two in reserve for cancellations/sickness.
Volunteers raising in excess of the £500 could apply to be reimbursed the excess funds to go towards their
return airfare to Cape Town.
An online fundraising account was opened with Virgin Money Giving to enable volunteers to raise funds
online and benefit from Gift Aid from donations from UK tax payers. The Virgin Money Giving site was
chosen as the set up and administration fees on donated funds were the lowest.
The volunteer contributions were allocated as following:
Volunteer insurance, indemnity & legal fees
Volunteer tabards
Student/Volunteer ground transportation
Printing & Postage
/ 86 volunteers *(average taking into
account Amanda reduced contribution)
Virgin Money Giving
Bank account deposits + self funding
Just Giving Text donations, donations, raffle
Company sponsorship
Total anticipated income from volunteers was £43,000. A weekly minimum amount adjustment was made
for an STP student volunteering for five weeks and helping with the research aspect of the project.
To date £17,716.23 has been refunded to volunteers to go towards their flight costs. This figure is not final.