Prof 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, studying Medicine, undergoing training as a physician and cardiologist in a number of countries, she lives 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 Euro Observational Programme on Peripartum Cardiomyopathy.
Together with her long-term collaborator, Prof. Simon Stewart, Melbourne, Australia, 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. She 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 200 articles and her work is highly cited. In recognition of her work Prof Sliwa has received several prestigious awards.
Karen Sliwa serves on a number of editorial boards and is also an editorial consultant to ‘The Lancet’. Furthermore, she is the past president of the South African Heart Association, serves on the board of the South African Heart Failure Society (Hefssa), which was established under her leadership 2005. She also president elect World Heart Federation (2017-2019),a member of the European Cardiac Society International Affairs committee and is board member of the Pan African Society of Cardiology.