African Health Sciences

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Pattern of surgical emergencies in a Nigerian tertiary hospital

Ndubuisi OC Onyemaechi, Sunday U Urube, Sebastian O Ekenze


Background: Surgical emergencies account for a major part of the surgeon’s workload. Evaluation of pattern of surgical emer- gencies will assist in developing concrete proposals for improved care. The aim was to assess the pattern of surgical emergencies in our center.

Methods: We undertook one-year prospective study of all the emergency surgical admissions at Federal Medical Centre Makurdi from January to December 2011.

Results: There were 575 surgical emergencies which constituted 56.8% of surgical admission, and 27.2% of allemergency hospital admissions. The commonest trauma cases were soft tissue injuries (30.3%), while the commonest non-trauma case was acute abdomen (41.6%). The mean age of the patients was 33.7 ± 17.2 years.Multiple injuries and traumatic brain injuries requir- ing intensive care monitoring, and malignancies were associated with higher mortality rates (p = 0.001). The 1-year mortality rate was 7.8% and the preventable death rate (PDR) for the trauma-related emergencies was 71.4%.

Conclusion: There is a wide spectrum of surgical emergencies in our setting with trauma accounting for a substantial propor- tion of cases. Improved trauma care, neurosurgical services and intensive care facilities may improve the outcome of surgical emergencies in our environment.

Keywords: Surgical emergencies; Pattern; tertiary hospital; Nigeria.
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