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Background: We aimed to analyse the burden and timing of trauma deaths over a 1-year period at a trauma centre in Nigeria.
Methods: This was a retrospective review of in-hospital trauma deaths during the period of January to December 2015. Sociodemographic data, cause of injury, mode of presentation, time interval between presentation and death, injury diagnoses, treatment, and place of death were analysed.
Results: There were 2230 trauma consultations during the study period; 85 were brought in dead from the scene. We analysed data from 103 of 121 in-hospital deaths. Patient ages ranged from 0 to 90 years, with a mean age of 31.1. The male-to-female ratio was 5:1. Following injury, 46.6% of the victims presented directly to our tertiary centre, while 53.4% were referred from other hospitals. Most of the injuries were from RTA. Isolated head injury was the predominant diagnosis (44.7%), followed by polytrauma (29%). Immediate deaths (exclusive of those brought in already dead) comprised 5.8% of cases; 37.9% were early deaths and 56.3% were late deaths.
Conclusions: The timing of trauma deaths closely approximated the original trimodal description in North America about half a century ago even though advances in trauma care have resulted in changes from this pattern in developed countries. Regionalised integrated care including prehospital trauma services are recommended.
Keywords: trauma; mortality; timing