The epidemiology and treatment of femur fractures at a northern Tanzanian referral centre
Introduction: Femoral fractures are the most common presenting injury at the orthopaedic department in a large Tanzanian hospital. To date, there has been no current examination of the epidemiology of femoral fractures and the disease burden has not been quantified.
Methods: A retrospective descriptive study of patient records in the orthopaedic department at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC) was performed. Patient demographics, aetiology of fractures, diagnosis and treatment were all recorded.
Results: A total of 540 consecutive patient admission records were reviewed over a 9 month period. Of these 540 cases, 213 (39%) were diagnosed with a femoral fracture. The 21-30 age group were the most commonly affected by femur fractures (20% n=42). Within this group, motor traffic accidents (MTA) were the cause of 71% of injuries (n=30). For males, MTA's caused 59% of all femur fractures (n=80), while falls were the most common cause of femur fractures in females (70%; n=49). 80% of the fractures in the 51-100 age group were caused by falls (n=52). In both the male and female groups the most common fracture seen was mid shaft femoral fracture (males 33% (n=48), females 25% (n=18)). The most common treatment was skeletal traction used in 40% (n=85) of patients.
Conclusion: Femur fracture most commonly presented in males under age 30. Femur fracture was most frequently caused by MTAs in males and by falls in females. The most common diagnosis was mid shaft of femur fracture. Skeletal traction was the most frequent treatment.
Key words: Femoral fractures, orthopaedics, Tanzania, epidemiology