A review of anaesthesia for emergency laparotomy in paediatric intestinal obstruction in Enugu, Nigeria

  • UV Okafor
  • J Azike
Keywords: Anaesthesia, Laparotomy, Children, Nigeria


Background: To review the anaesthetic management and outcome for emergency laparotomy for paediatric intestinal obstruction in the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, Nigeria. Methods: The anaesthetic charts and folders of pediatric patients that had emergency laparotomy for intestinal obstruction in the general operating theatre of the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Enugu, Nigeria, from October 2007 - September 2008 were reviewed. The records were examined for anaesthetic technique, patient primary diagnosis, intra-operative events, blood and fluid therapy and patient outcome. Patients above thirteen years were excluded. Results: Forty-four out of 285 (15.7%) paediatric patients underwent emergency laparotomy for intestinal obstruction in the general operating theatre. There were 29 males and 15 females. The average age of the patients was 3.75 years. There were a total of 1674 anesthetics in the general operating theatre during the study. The leading causes of intestinal obstruction in this study were typhoid peritonitis (14 or 31.8%), intussusceptions (14 or 31.8%) and congenital anomalies (11 or 25%). Six patients (13%) had a preoperative packed cell volume of less than 30%, while ten patients received intra-operative blood transfusion (21.7%). There was one anesthetic death to give a case mortality rate of 2.2%. Conclusion: The mortality rate in this study shows the importance and relevance of trained providers of anaesthesia managing paediatric patients in the developing world. Early presentation of patients allowed time for resuscitation and fewer complications before surgery.

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