East and Central African Journal of Surgery

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Penetrating abdominal war injuries among the war victims at Lacor Hospital in Gulu, Northern Uganda

DM Opvang


A prospective study of patients presenting with penetrating abdominal war injuries  over a 15-months period was carried out at Lacor Hospital mission hospital in Gulu town in Northern Uganda. Those with major concomitant injuries to the chest, central nervous and musculo-skeletal systems were excluded from the study. The patients' ages, sex, causative agent, organ injured, complications and outcome of management were recorded. Patients were followed up for a period of at least 4 weeks after discharge. A total of 68 patients were seen during the period of study. The male to female sex ratio was 7.5:l. The patients' ages ranged from 2 to 50 years with a mean of 27 years. Gunshot wounds acco nted for 58 (85.3%) of the  cases while the remaining ten (14.7OI0) had injuries caused by bomb blast  fragments. The organs most commonly injured were the small bowel, colon and liver. The morbidity rate was 36.8% all of whom had intestinal injuries. The overall mortality rate in this study was 14.5% mostly as result of haemorrhage and septicaemia. The high mortality rate associated with abdominal war injuries can be reduced if patients present early to hospital for prompt and appropriate treatment. All cases of such injuries should have exploratory  laparotomy as soon as possible.

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