Respiratory Illnesses Presenting to The Children’s Emergency Room of a Tertiary Hospital in South–East Nigeria: A Retrospective Study
Background: Respiratory illnesses are a major cause of morbidity and mortality in children worldwide. The impact is more profound in low and middle income countries.
Objective: To determine the pattern of the respiratory illnesses in children that presented to the Children Emergency Room (CHER) of Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital Nnewi, a tertiary hospital in South-East Nigeria, over a 5-year period.
Methodology: Clinical records of all children presenting over a 60-month period (July 2011 to June 2016) were retrieved and analyzed. Their age, gender as well as outcome of admission within 72hours in the CHER were reviewed.
Results: A total of 4622 children were admitted over the specified period. Six hundred and sixty-eight (14.45%) had an Acute Respiratory Illness(ARI). Age range of the children was I month to 17years, mean age was 2.33 (± 3.56) years.
Bronchopneumonia occurring in 27 (41.01 %)children was the most common diagnosis; followed by Bronchiolitis in 78 (11.68%), Aspiration pneumonitis in 41 (6.14%) and Acute Asthma in 40 (5.99%). There was equal gender distribution among the modal age of presentation.
Majority of the cases 367 (54.94%) were transferred to the ward for continued care within 72hours of admission, while 54 (8.08%) died. The aetiology of the respiratory pathology (infectious or not) had a significant association with outcome of 72hours of admission in CHER (p = 0.01).
Conclusion: Prevalence of ARIs among toddlers is still high. Efforts have to be re-enforced in order to reduce the negative impact of respiratory illness on child health and survival in the sub region.
Key Words: Acute pulmonary morbidity, Chest infections, Paediatrics, Healthcare centre