Penetrating abdominal injuries in adults seen at two teaching hospitals in Ghana
Background: The incidence of penetrating abdominal injuries (PAI) has increased in the West African sub-region.
Objective: To determine the pattern and management outcome of penetrating abdominal injuries (PAI) in the two main teaching hospitals in Ghana.
Study Design: A prospective and retrospective descriptive study.
Setting: Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), Kumasi and Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH), Accra.
Methods: Relevant details of all adult patients admitted with penetrating abdominal injuries over a 11-year period were recorded at KATH and KBTH in Accra. The study in KATH was prospective pro forma based and that in the KBTH was a retrospective case review of all penetrating abdominal injuries.
Results: There were 411 patients, mostly men (M: F-8:1). The peak age of patients was 20-29 years, 164 patients (39.9%). Abdominal stab wound injuries accounted for 251 (61.1%). Three hundred and thirty – one patients (80.5%) had an emergency laparotomy. Twelve patients required 16 emergency thoracotomies. The small bowel (23.2%), stomach (12.9%), colon (10.2%), the liver (10.0%), were the most commonly injured organs. In 92 patients (29.0%) no significant intra-abdominal injury was detected at laparotomy
Conclusion: Stab wounds are the main penetrating abdominal injuries seen mostly among young male adults in Ghana. Management was by a mandatory laparotomy after clinical assessment. The overall mortality was 4.4%. Selective non-operative management of abdominal stab wounds is possible.
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