Extremity trauma in midwestern Nigeria: an epidemiological study
Objectives: to determine the pattern of extremity injuries presenting in a major trauma centre in Midwestern Nigeria.
Materials and Methods: This was a prospective study performed at the trauma unit of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, involving individuals who sustained upper and lower extremity injuries between august 2008 and September 2009.
Outcome measurements: patient demographics, mechanism of injury, severity of injuries (as evidenced by presence of fatalities), type of limb injury, associated injuries, immediate outcome.
Results: Two hundred and twenty eight (228) patients presenting with extremity injuries were seen during the study period. The male to female ratio was about 3:1. Majority of the patients seen were between the ages of 20 and 40 years. Soft tissue injury was the commonest presentation (69.3%) with fractures and dislocations making up 42.1% and 17.1% respectively. Road traffic accidents were the commonest injuring mechanism (68%) with motor vehicular crashes responsible for 39.9% of all cases seen. The lower limbs were more likely to be injured than the upper limbs and less than 15% of cases seen had other associated injuries. In all cases with associated injuries, the central nervous system was the most commonly involved system, being present in 11.4% of all cases seen. There was a 5% mortality rate among this group of patients with discharges against medical advice responsible for 7% of all cases and 88% surviving their injuries.
Conclusion: Extremity injuries continue to be a major cause of morbidity in our environment with road traffic accidents being the most common cause of injury. Although the mortality rate is relatively low, prompt treatment is necessary to mitigate long term morbidity in these patients.
Keywords: extremity trauma, patterns, dislocations, fractures