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Pattern of acute abdomen in adult patients in Tikur Anbessa Teaching Hospital, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

B Kotiso
Z Abdurahman


Back ground: Surgical acute abdomen is one of the commonly encountered emergency in the practice of General surgery but there is no much study regarding the magnitude and its pattern in Ethiopia at large and in Tikur Anbessa Hospital (TAH) in particular. This study was aimed at assessing the magnitude, pattern and outcome of surgical treatment of acute abdomen in TAH

Methods: This was a one-year retrospective study conducted on adult patients admitted in Tikur Anbessa Teaching Hospital in Addis Ababa Ethiopia with acute abdomen.

Results: During the study period there were 587 adult surgical emergency operations of which 214 (36.4%) were laparotomies for acute abdomen. A total of 276 patients were admitted with a diagnosis of acute abdomen of whom the records of 235 patients were retrieved which made the basis of this study. The male to female ratio was 2:1. The ages ranged from 14 years to 84 with a mean of 30.7±14.9. Acute appendicitis accounting for 52% of cases was the leading cause of acute abdomen followed by intestinal obstruction (26%) and perforated Peptic ulcer disease (PPUD) (9%). There were 36 deaths giving an overall mortality rate of 15.3%. A higher mortality rate was observed in patients who presented late.

Conclusion: Acute abdomen deserving emergency laparotomy is quite common in TAH. Earlier reports from Africa had shown intestinal obstruction as a leading cause. In this study acute appendicitis was found to have taken over at least in the urban setting of Ethiopia. The overall mortality of 15.3% is high and could be attributed to late presentation.