Orthopaedic injuries in children: Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia experience

  • U.B Aguocha
  • P.U Njoku
  • L Okoronkwo
  • R.C Echem


Background: Worldwide, trauma is a recognized leading cause of childhood morbidity, mortality and disability.

Aim: To review the causes and consequences of orthopaedic injuries in children.

Methods: A retrospective study of all injuries in children 14 years and below seen at the Federal Medical Centre Umuahia from 1st July 1996 to 30th June 1999 utilizing data  from patients' case notes, casualty and ward registers and the theatre records. Data extracted was analyzed using descriptive statistics.

Results: Of the 125 patients seen, only 81 records were retrievable. There were 54 males and 27 females (M: F = 2:1). Their average age was 6.1 years, most (50.6%) being in the 6-10 years age group. Most of the injuries resulted from motor vehicle accidents (37.0%), followed by falls (21.0%). Majority (80.2%) of the injuries occurred in an urban setting. Complications noted at presentation include severe anaemia,

chronic osteomyelitis, soft tissue infection, limb gangrene and septicaemia. Less than 50% presented within the first six hours following injury. Most (56.7%) of the fractures seen were closed. The commonest body region involved was the lower limb (49.4%), followed by the head and neck (32.1%). The duration of hospital stay was more than 2 weeks in 25.9%. Most (95.1%) of the patients recovered without residual disability and there was one mortality (1.2%).

Conclusion: The problem of orthopaedic injuries in children in a developing setting like Nigeria is significant. Road traffic crashes constitute a significant cause of orthopaedic injuries and the practice of quacks complicate these injuries.


Keywords:  Orthopaedic injuries, Children, Causes, Consequencies


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eISSN: 0795-3038