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Patterns and outcome of surgical management of goitres at Bugando Medical Centre in northwestern Tanzania

Phillipo L. Chalya
Peter Rambau
Joseph B. Mabula
Emmanuel S. Kanumba
Godfrey Giiti
Japhet M. Gilyoma


Despite the well established endemicity of goitres little work has been done on the management of goiters in Tanzania. A cross-sectional study was conducted at Bugando Medical Centre (BMC) in Mwanza, Tanzania to determine the pattern and outcome of surgical management of goitres. Data was collected using a pre-tested, coded questionnaire. A total of 152 patients were studied of which 140 (92.1%) were females and males were 12 (7.9%) (F: M = 11.7: 1). Their ages ranged from 18 to 72 years (mean =38.4± 12.5 years). The mean duration of illness was 9.2 years. The thyroid gland size at admission was grade III in 63.8% of patients. Multinodular goitres were reported in 51.3% of patients. The majority of patients (92.1%) presented with euthyroid goitres and the remaining (7.9%) patients had toxic goitres. Pressure symptoms and cosmetic disfigurement were the common indications for thyroidectomy in 47.4% and 23.7%, respectively. Near total thyroidectomy and total thyroidectomy were the surgical procedures performed for benign and malignant goitres in 47.3% and 8.1% of patients, respectively. Simple multinodular goitres were the most common histopathological pattern accounting for 67.2% of cases. Twelve (7.9%) patients had a histologically proven thyroid malignancy, of which follicular and papillary carcinoma were reported in 41.7% and 33.3% of cases, respectively. Post-operative complications rate was 7.9%. The mean length of hospital stay was 14.4 days (range 3 to 34 days). Five patients died giving a mortality rate of 3.4%. In conclusion, this study has shown that the pattern of surgical goitres seen at Bugando Medical Centre is similar to what is reported from other parts of the world. However, the majority of patients present for surgery very late with huge goitres predisposing them to increased risk of post-operative complications, prolonged length of hospital stay and cost of medical care. It is therefore recommended that health education should be given to the community about the cause, prevention and treatment options so that patients could seek early medical attention.

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eISSN: 1821-9241
print ISSN: 1821-6404