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Objective: To determine the incidence, pattern and outcome of obstructed abdominal wall hernia in a semi-urban and rural community.
Design: A proforma was drafted to study all consecutive patients operated for obstructed anterior abdominal wall hernia over a period of five years. Clinical findings, preoperative treatment, operative findings and postoperative outcome were documented.
Setting: Teaching hospital located in a semi-urban community comprising mostly agrarian population.
Patients: A total 110 adult patients with obstructed anterior abdominal wall hernia who had operative intervention and other postoperative management.
Results: There were 110 patients with 111 obstructed hernias, accounting for 26.4% of all abdominal wall hernias. The age ranged from 19 - 79 years with mean of 49.7 years. Males accounted for 81%. Inguinoscrotal hernia was the commonest occurring in 75.7%, 16.2% patients presented with inguinal hernia and five patients with femoral hernia. The greater proportion of inguinal hernia occurred in female. Eighty seven patients (79%) had emergency operations and elective in 23 patients (21%) who had spontaneous reduction while awaiting surgery. Ninety two percent of inguinoscrotal/ inguinal hernia were indirect. Omentum was trapped in 52 hernias (47.%), while in 15 patients (13.6%), gangrenous bowel segments were discovered. Scrotal oedema was the commonest complication accounting for 21%, while wound infection occurred in 20%. There were three deaths in elderly men with clinical symptoms and signs of acute
intestinal obstruction and gangrenous bowel segments, accounting for 2.7% of the patients. Twenty eight per cent of patients were discharged within the first and second postoperative days. Two patients spent 36 and 56 days each in the hospital.
Conclusion: This study showed that 26.4% of abdominal hernia presented with obstruction. With inguinoscrotal hernia predominating: male accounted for 81% and 13.6% of the obstructed hernia contained gangrenous bowel segments. Post-operative complications were common, mortality occurring mainly in elderly patients with late presentation.