Professor Karen Sliwa

Professor, Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa.

Professorial Fellow, Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research.

Areas of expertise: Pathophysiological Research, Heart Failure, Cardiovascular Disease in Pregnancy

ORCID ID: 0000-0002-8272-0911


Location: ACU Melbourne Campus  

Professor Karen Sliwa is Professor of Cardiovascular Research at the Hatter Institute for Cardiovascular Research in Africa (HICRA) and Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine (IDM) at the University of Cape Town, and the Director of HICRA where she leads several research groups.

Professor Sliwa is a clinician-scientist, having trained in Germany, Scotland and Israel. In

1992 she immigrated to South Africa where she completed her clinical training as a specialist physician, cardiologist and obtained a Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

In 2002 she was awarded her PhD from the University of the Witwatersrand. Professor Sliwa has received Fellowships from the American College of Cardiology, the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and holds honorary research appointments at the Population Health Research Institute (PHRI), Hamilton, Canada and the Baker Institute, Melbourne, Australia. She is leading a large international registry funded by the ESC and is an editorial consultant/board member of a number of prestigious journals including The Lancet (IF 39) and European Heart Journal (IF 15.7).

Professor Sliwa’s work has culminated in several prestigious international awards including the African Most Influential Women in Business and Government- Continental Lifetime Achiever Award (2015/2016); German Cardiac Society Paul Morawitz Award for Exceptional Cardiovascular Research (2013); South Africa /Germany Year of Science NRF Celebrations Award (2012); Department of Science and Technology Distinguished Women in Science Award (2010); Population Health Research Institute International Scholar, McMaster University, Canada (2010) and the International Society of Hypertension Developing World Award (2010).

In 2014 a full profile report on Professor Sliwa was published in The Lancet, and in 2015 a two-page report in the European Heart Journal (IF 15.7) portrayed her as a global leader in cardiovascular medicine

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Select publications

  • Thienemann F, Pinto F, Grobbee DE, Boehm M, Bazargani N, Ge J, Sliwa K. World Heart Federation Briefing on Prevention: Coronovirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in low-income countries. Global Heart. 2020;15(1):31.
  • Yadgir S, Johnson CO, Aboyans V, Adebayo OM… Sliwa K…. Roth GA. Global, Regional, and National Burden of Calcific Aortic Valve and Degenerative Mitral Valve Diseases, 1990-2017. Circulation 2020 Mar 29. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.119.043391. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Arrigo M, Jessup M, Mullens W, Reza N, Shah AM, Sliwa K, Mebazaa A. Acute heart failure. Nat Rev Dis Primers. 2020 Mar 5;6(1):16. doi: 10.1038/s41572-020-0151-7. Review.
  • Yuyun MF, Sliwa K, Kengne AP et al. Cardiovascular diseases in Sub-Saharan Africa compared to high-income countries: An epidemiological perspective. Global Heart, 2020, DOI: https/ (In press)
  • Sliwa K. Heart failure can affect everyone: The ESC Geoffrey Rose Lecture. Eur Heart J. 2020 Mar 2. pii: ehaa084. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehaa084. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Sliwa K, Azibani F, Johnson MR, Viljoen C, et al. Effectiveness of Implanted Cardiac Rhythm Recorders With Electrocardiographic Monitoring for Detecting Arrhythmias in Pregnant Women With Symptomatic Arrhythmia and/or Structural Heart Disease: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Cardiol. 2020 Feb 19. doi: 10.1001/jamacardio.2019.5963. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Azibani F, Pfeffer TJ, Ricke-Hoch M, …, Sliwa K, Hilfiker-Kleiner D. Outcome in German and South African peripartum cardiomyopathy cohorts associates with medical therapy and fibrosis markers. ESC Heart Fail. 2020 Feb 17. doi: 10.1002/ehf2.12553. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Bonny A, Ngantcha M, Yuyun M, … Sliwa K. Cardiac arrhythmia services in Africa from 2011 to 2018: the second report from the Pan African Society of Cardiology working group on cardiac arrhythmias and pacing. Europace. 2020 Jan 28. pii: euz354. doi: 10.1093/europace/euz354. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Böhm M, Schumacher H, Teo KK, … Sliwa K, … Yusuf S. Resting heart rate and cardiovascular outcomes in diabetic and non-diabetic individuals at high cardiovascular risk analysis from the ONTARGET/TRANSCEND trials. Eur Heart J. 2020 Jan 7;41(2):231-238
  • Lam CSP, Arnott C, Beale AL, Chandramouli C, Hilfiker-Kleiner D, Kaye DM, Ky B, Santema BT, Sliwa K, Voors AA. Sex differences in heart failure. Eur Heart J. 2019 Dec 14;40(47):3859-3868c.

Accolades and awards

  • Grade B1-Rated Scientist, National Research Foundation of South Africa
  • Honorary Doctorate University Diderot-Sorbonne, Paris, France. Highest Distinction of French Universities as a recognition towards Research and Global Engagement which is awarded by the French University Research Board and approved by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
2015 & 2016
  • Africa's Most Influential Women in Business and Government Titans Award – Lifetime Achievement Winner
  • Distinguished Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Field of Pregnancy and Heart Disease’ at the Cardiac Problems in Pregnancy Conference, Venice, Italy
  • International patent with the University of Diderot, Sorbonne Paris, on biomarkers in pregnancy.
  • German Cardiac Society Paul Morawitz Award for Exceptional Cardiovascular Research (this distinguished award is given once per annum for exceptional research in cardiology & cardiothoracic surgery in Germany, Austria and Switzerland)
  • South Africa /Germany Year of Science Celebrations Award
  • Population Health Research Institute International Scholar, McMaster University, Canada
  • International Society of Cardiology Hypertension Developing World Award
  • Grade B2-Rated Scientist, National Research Foundation of South Africa
  • Department of Science and Technology Distinguished Women in Science Award.

Appointments and affiliations

  • Director - Hatter Institute for Cardiovascular Research in Africa
  • President - World Heart Federation (2019 – 2020)
  • Vice President South - Pan African Cardiac Society

Editorial roles

Editorial Boards

2016- present

  • Editorial Board Member, International Journal of Cardiology
  • Editorial Board Member, Clinical Research in Cardiology
  • International Editorial Board Member, ESC Heart Failure Journal
2012 - present
  • International Associate Editor European Heart Journal
2006 - present
  • Diabetes and Vascular Disease
2005 - present
  • European Journal of Heart Failure
  • Editor Consultant for The Lancet
2005 – 2012
  • Croatian Medical Journal

Invited reviewer for numerous journals, including: PLOS One, Circulation, European Heart Failure Journal, The American Journal of Cardiology, Archives of Internal Medicine, The Lancet and the European Journal of Echocardiography and others.

Public engagement

I am a member of the following European Society of Cardiology (ESC) bodies, (Boards, Associations, Councils, Working Groups, Task Forces, Committees, Educational and Training Programme (ETP) Organisers, ESC Spokespersons):

  • Congress Programme Committee (Representative of other society)
  • EHJ Cardiovascular Pharmacotherapy Editorial Board (Ordinary member)
  • EORP Peripartum Cardiomyopathy Registry – Executive Committee (Co-chair)
  • EORP Registry of Pregnancy and Cardiac Disease (ROPAC) Preg-III Registry (Executive Committee Member)
  • EORP Registry of Pregnancy and Cardiac Disease (ROPAC) Executive Committee (Executive Committee Member)
  • European Journal of Heart Failure (Ordinary Member)
  • European Heart Journal Editorial Board (Senior Editor)
  • European Society of Cardilogy
  • HFA Study Group on Peripartum Cardiomyopathies (Affiliate)
  • Heart Faulure Association of the ESC (FA)


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