Prevalence and pattern of lower extremity injuries due to road traffic crashes in Fako Division, Cameroon
Introduction: low and middle income countries are disproportionately affected with road traffic injuries and the lower extremity is one of the most affected anatomical body parts. There exist very limited data on the pattern of lower extremity injuries in the Cameroon especially in the South West Region. We therefore, hypothesized that lower limb injuries are common in road traffic crashes and motorized two wheelers are the commonest cause.
Methods: this was a hospital based prospective, cross sectional study. It involved four hospitals (Limbe and Buea Regional Hospitals, Baptist hospital Mutengene and Tiko District Hospital) in the Fako Division. It was carried out for three months. Victims of road traffic crashes received at emergency department of these hospitals during this period were assessed. Crash characteristics and injury characteristics were assessed and recorded.
Results: we analyzed 411 crash victims, 197(47.93%) had lower extremity injuries. The male to female ratio was 1.4:1. Majority of crash victims were in their 3rd and 4th decades of life. The mean age of patients who had lower limb injuries was 33.30(±16.04). The most vulnerable road users were pedestrians (26.52%) and passengers on motor bikes (38.44%) and the commonest mechanism by which crash victims sustained injuries were: bike-car collisions (22.84%), and bike-pedestrian collisions (19.29%). Commercial motor bikes (62.77%) and taxis (22.38%) were the road users most involved in road traffic collisions. The leg 98(49.75%), thigh 23(11.68%), and knee 20(10.15%) were the most injured anatomical parts of the lower extremity. Fractures 68 (34.52%), lacerations 53(26.90%), and bruises 49(24.87%) were the most recurrent pattern of lower extremity injuries.
Conclusion: in view of our findings we conclude therefore as follows: The prevalence of lower extremity injuries from Road Traffic Crashes in our study area was 47.93%. Associated risk factors to the road traffic crashes as identified by the victims were bad roads (10.15%) and bad weather (5.05%). The safety gargets were not adequately utilized by our victims, with 87.72% confirming that they did not wear the helmet and 87.50% affirming that they did not wear the seat belt at the time of the crash. The occupations mostly affected in our series were pupils and students (20.3%) and business people (19.2%), then the bike riders (15.23%). We thus recommend that the laws on the use of road safety gargets, especially helmets and seatbelts, be enforced, with riding and driving speeds reduced to below 60km/hour. Road usage should be avoided in bad weather and pedestrians lanes and zebra crossings be provided to minimize pedestrian-car or -bike collision.