Pattern and management of chest injuries in Maiduguri, Nigeria

  • N Ali Department of Surgery, University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, Maiduguri, Nigeria
  • BM Gali Department of Surgery, University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, Maiduguri, Nigeria
Keywords: Chest injuries, pattern, management


Background: Chest injuries constitute a continuing challenge to the trauma or general surgeon practicing in a developing country. This study reviews the pattern and management of these injuries mainly by general surgeons.
Methods: A retrospective review of 78 patients admitted into the surgical wards of the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH) with chest injuries between January 1997 and December 1999.
Results: Over the three-year period, 78 patients with various forms of chest injuries were managed in the UMTH. There were 62(79.5%) males and 16 (20.5%) females, giving a male to female ratio of 3.8:1. The age ranged between 5 - 67 years with a mean of 32.28 years. Most of the injuries 48(61.53%) were penetrating; 24(30.76%) were due to low velocity guns, 10(12.8%) from arrow shots and 6(10.34%) from stab wounds. Blunt injuries constituted the remaining 30(38.46%) and were all as a result of road traffic accidents (RTA). All patients had chest radiographs from which the commonest lesions; simple rib fractures, haemopneumothorax, haemothorax and pneumothorax were diagnosed. There were none with major vascular or oesophageal injuries. The commonest extra-thoracic associated injuries were limb fractures and abdominal injuries. Most patients 44(56.4%) required tube thoracostomy as definitive treatment. Four patients (5.12%) required thoracotomy. The commonest complications were infective in nature. The overall mortality was 2.56%.
Conclusion: There was a high incidence of chest injuries following gun shuts and arrow shots from armed bandits. The management of seemingly serious chest injuries were well within the competence of general surgeons.
Key Words: Chest injuries, pattern, management
Annals of African Medicine Vol.3(4) 2004: 181-184

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