The role of airway maintenance in the management outcome of tetanus patients in Calabar: a five-year retrospective review

  • EJ Peters
  • AI Eshiet University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Calabar, Nigeria
  • I Akpantun
  • BV Elumelu


A five year retrospective study was carried out at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital to assess the impact of airway maintenance in the management outcome of tetanus patient treated in the hospital between January 2000 and December 2004. A total of 87 patients consisting of 61 males and 26 females formed the subjects of the study. Information for analysis was carefully abstracted from the case note of each subject retrieved from the medical records unit. The results showed a high mortality rate of 63.2% within the period of review. Factors that adversely affected prognosis included respiratory difficulty from lack of airway maintenance, shorter period of onset after exposure, increased severity and frequency of spasms and features of autonomic dysfunction. Patients with a history of previous immunization against tetanus and female patients had good prognosis. Aspiration pneumonia and septicaemia were the commonest associated complications observed in the study. Tetanus still remains a very deadly disease in our environment despite the availability of a safe and effective vaccine against it. Concerted efforts should be made to manage these patiets adequately by providing intensive care treatment.

Keywords: airway, maintenance, management, tetanus, Calabar

Mary Slessor Journal of Medicine Vol. 5(2) 2005: 40-43

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eISSN: 1119-409X
print ISSN: 1119-409X