A one-year prospective study on the occurrence of traumatic spinal cord injury and clinical complications during hospitalisation in North-East Tanzania
Background: Clinical complications following spinal cord injury are a big concern as they account for increased cost of rehabilitation, poor outcomes and mortality.
Objective: To describe the occurrence of traumatic spinal cord injury and associated clinical complications during hospi- talisation in North-East Tanzania.
Method: Prospective data were collected from all persons with traumatic spinal cord injury from North-East Tanzania from their admission to discharge from the hospital. Neurological progress and complications were assessed routinely. Data were captured using a form that incorporated the components of the core data set of the International Spinal Cord Society and were analysed descriptively.
Results: A total of 87 persons with traumatic spinal cord injury were admitted at the hospital with a mean age of 40.2 ± 15.8 years. There were 69 (79.3%) males, and 58 (66.6%) of the injuries resulted from falls. Spasms (41 patients, 47.1%), neuropathic pain (40 patients, 46%), and constipation (35 patients, 40.2%) were the most commonly reported complications. The annual incidence rate in the Kilimanjaro region was at least 38 cases per million.
Conclusion: The incidence of traumatic spinal cord injury in the Kilimanjaro region is relatively high. In-hospital compli- cations are prevalent and are worth addressing for successful rehabilitation.
Keywords: Rehabilitation; pressure ulcer; spasm; urinary tract infections; low income countries.
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