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Traumatic spinal cord injury in the north-east Tanzania: describing incidence, etiology and clinical outcomes retrospectively
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Physiotherapy. Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, Physiotherapy Department, Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College, Moshi, Tanzania.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Physiotherapy.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health. Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Nursing.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Physiotherapy.
2017 (English)In: Global Health Action, ISSN 1654-9716, E-ISSN 1654-9880, Vol. 10, no 1, article id 1355604Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Causes, magnitude and consequences of traumatic spinal cord injury depend largely on geography, infrastructure, socioeconomic and cultural activities of a given region. There is a scarcity of literature on profile of traumatic spinal cord injury to inform prevention and rehabilitation of this health condition in African rural settings, particularly Tanzania. Objective: To describe the incidence, etiology and clinical outcomes of traumatic spinal cord injury and issues related to retrospective study in underdeveloped setting.

Methods: Records for patients with traumatic spinal cord injury for five consecutive years (2010–2014) were obtained retrospectively from the admission wards and health records archives of the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center. Sociodemographic, cause, complications and patients’ condition on discharge were recorded and analyzed descriptively.

Results: The admission books in the wards registered 288 new traumatic spinal cord injury cases from January 2010 to December 2014. Of the 288 cases registered in the books, 224 were males and 64 females with mean age 39.1(39.1 ± 16.3) years and the majority of individuals 196(68.1%) were aged between 16 and 45 years. A search of the hospital archives provided 213 full patient records in which the leading cause of injury was falls 104(48.8%) followed by road traffic accidents 73(34.3%). Cervical 81(39.9%) and lumbar 71(34.74%) spinal levels were the most affected. The annual incidence for the Kilimanjaro region (population 1,640,087) was estimated at more than 26 persons per million population. The most docu- mented complications were pressure ulcers 42(19.7%), respiratory complications 32(15.0%) and multiple complications 28(13.1%). The mean length of hospital stay was 64.2 ± 54.3 days and the mortality rate was 24.4%.

Conclusion: Prevention of traumatic spinal cord injury in North-east Tanzania should consider falls (particularly from height) as the leading cause, targeting male teenagers and young adults. Pressure ulcers, respiratory complications, in-hospital mortality and availability of wheelchairs should be addressed. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 10, no 1, article id 1355604
Keyword [en]
Traumatic spinal cord injury, etiology, rural, Tanzania, Africa
National Category
Physiotherapy Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Research subject
Physiotherapy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-138838DOI: 10.1080/16549716.2017.1355604ISI: 000408679400001PubMedID: 28856978OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-138838DiVA: diva2:1137853
Available from: 2017-09-01 Created: 2017-09-01 Last updated: 2017-10-17Bibliographically approved

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