Trauma: a major cause of death among surgical inpatients of a Nigerian tertiary hospital

  • Onyeanunam Ngozi Ekeke
  • Kelechi Emmanuel Okonta
Keywords: Trauma, mortality, surgical wards, Port Harcourt, Nigeria


Introduction: Trauma presents a significant global health burden. Death resulting from trauma remains high in low income countries despite a steady decrease in developed countries. Analysis of the pattern of death will enable intervention to reduce these deaths from trauma in developing countries. This study aims to present the pattern of trauma-related deaths in the surgical wards of University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH).

Methods: This was a retrospective study of all patients who died from trauma during admission into the surgical wards of UPTH from 2007 to 2012. Data on demography and traumatic events leading to death were collected from surgical wards, the emergency unit, and theatre records and analyzed using SPSS version 16.0.

Results: Trauma accounted for 219 (42.4%) of the 527 mortalities recorded. Most of the deaths (62.6 %) occurred between 20 and 59 years. There were 148 males (67.6 %). The yearly mortality rates were as follows: 2007(12.3 %); 2008 (16.9%); 2009 (9.1%), 2010 (12.8 %), 2011 (23.3%) and 2012 (25.6%). Most of the patients (91.3%) died within 1 month of admission. The major events leading to deaths were burns 105(47.9%), traumatic brain injuries were 63(28.8%), and spinal cord injuries 21(9.6%). The secondary causes of death were mainly septic shock 112(51.1%); Respiratory failure 60(27.4%); and Multiple organ dysfunction 44(20.1%).

Conclusion: Trauma is a leading cause of mortality in the surgical wards of our hospital. Trauma -related deaths continues to increase over the years. Safe keeping of petroleum products and adherence to traffic rules will reduce these avoidable deaths.

Keywords: Trauma, mortality, surgical wards, Port Harcourt, Nigeria


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eISSN: 1937-8688