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Background: Open tibial fracture is a common orthopaedic challenge in Nigeria with adverse economic implications. The aim of study is to investigate the epidemiology of the problem.
Methods: This is a prospective observational study of all open tibial fractures seen at the Accident and Emergency department of the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) over a twelve- month period (July 2002- June 2003). Data from a pre-designed proforma for the study was analyzed and descriptive statistics of the epidemiology is presented.
Results: Seventy-two open fractures were seen in 70 patients. The male to female ratio was 2.5:1 and the peak age incidence was in the 20-29 years age group (38.6%) followed by the 30-39 years age group (31.4%). The extremes of age were least affected. Road accidents constituted most of the injuries (91.4%), of which 51.5% was motorcycle related. The passenger was the most at risk of injury (56.3%). Gustilo and Anderson type III open injuries were the most frequent followed by the type II injuries.
Conclusion: The burden of open tibial fractures in Nigeria is significant. Most fractures of the tibia are open and results from high-energy injuries. They are usually associated with other injuries, which are the major contributors to morbidity and mortality. Poverty and lack of social infra structures are contributory factors.
Port Harcourt Medical Journal Vol. 1 (3) 2007: pp. 156-160