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East and Central African Journal of Surgery

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Aetiology and Treatment Outcome of Non-traumatic Small Bowel Perforations at Mbarara Hospital in South-Western Uganda

D Mutiibwa, A Lopez, G Tumusiime, D Riding, A Diaz

Abstract


Background: Non-traumatic small bowel perforation (SBP) is the most common form of gastrointestinal perforation in sub-Saharan Africa. Although SBP is a surgical emergency associated with complications, information regarding its aetiology is scanty in Uganda. This study was aimed at determining the aetiology and document treatment outcomes of non-traumatic small bowel perforations in South-western
Uganda.
Methods: This was a descriptive case series of 87 consenting patients with non-traumatic SBP confirmed at laparotomy, on the emergency ward of Mbarara University Teaching Hospital. They were enrolled from September 2011 to May 2012. Specimens for blood culture, stool microscopy, HIV testing and tissue biopsies at the site of perforation were collected and analyzed. Patient follow-up was done till discharge.
Results: Of the 78 biopsies performed, 66(84.6%) had histological features suggestive of typhoid perforations while 12(15.4%) had features of non-specific inflammation. Salmonella typhi was isolated in 13(15.0%) out of the 87 patients. Isolates were susceptible to Ceftriaxone and Ciprofloxacin. All patients tested HIV negative. Ascaris lumbricoides were seen in two patients. Re-laparotomy was done in four patients with new perforations, two with anastomotic breakdown and two with intra-abdominal abscesses. Wound sepsis was observed in 25(28.7%). Average length of hospital stay was 13 days. Some 10(11.5%) patients died.
Conclusions: Most cases of non-traumatic SBP in south western Uganda are associated with Salmonella infection. There is need to enhance laboratory capacity to detect typhoid and preventive measures should be instituted in the general population.



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