Professor Karen Sliwa, MD, PhD, FESC, FACC, DTM & H is the Director of the Hatter Institute for Cardiovascular Research in Africa, University of Cape Town, South Africa.
Born in Germany and undergoing training as a physician and cardiologist in a number of countries, she has lived in South Africa since 1992.
Cardiovascular disease in pregnancy and postpartum is one of her main areas of clinical and pathophysiological research. Recent progress in understanding underlying pathophysiology of Peripartum Cardiomyopathy, enabled by novel experimental approaches interlinked with unique international efforts has led to great progress in awareness and management of the disease. In order to coordinate efforts even better, a Study Group, ‘Peripartum Cardiomyopathy’, of the Heart Failure Association of the European Cardiac Society, chaired by her and others was formed in 2009. That has led to a large international registry under the EURObservational Programme on Peripartum Cardiomyopathy.
She established a population study in Africa called the ‘Heart of Soweto Study’ to investigate the prevalence, presentation and management of cardiac disease in an urban African population. This study, on more than 8000 patients, highlighted the high prevalence of hypertension, obesity and cardiac disease in women of childbearing age. She has recently expanded her population studies under the umbrella of the ‘Heart of Africa studies’ to other African countries, including Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya and Sudan. Karen has designed a number of innovative research programs and leveraged funding for several major research projects, not only in South Africa and the rest of Africa, but also internationally. She has published more than 180 articles which includes 11 in The Lancet (IF 39.9) and her work is highly cited.