South African Journal of Surgery
On-line version ISSN 2078-5151
Print version ISSN 0038-2361
AHIDJO, Kawu A. et al. Prehospital transport of spinal cord-injured patients in Nigeria. S. Afr. j. surg. [online]. 2012, vol.50, n.1, pp.3-5. ISSN 2078-5151.
BACKGROUND: Well-organised and efficient prehospital transport is associated with an improved outcome in trauma patients. In Nigeria there is a paucity of information on prehospital transport of spinal cord-injured patients and its relation to mortality. OBJECTIVE: To determine whether prehospital transportation is a predictor of mortality in spinal cord-injured patients in Nigeria. DESIGN: Prospective cohort study. METHODS: Prehospital transport-related conditions, injury-to-arrival intervals and persons who brought spinal cord-injured patients to the casualty departments at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, and the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Lagos, were noted. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics, the chi-square test and multiple logistic regressions. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Mortality within 6 weeks of admission. RESULTS: During the review period, 168 patients with spinal cord injury presented to the casualty departments. Most presented 24 hours or more after the injury (67.9%) and were brought to casualty by their relatives (58.3%). Saloon cars were the most common mode of transportation (54.2%), most patients (55.4%) lying on their back during transfer. The majority of the patients (75%) had been taken to at least one other hospital before arriving at our casualty departments. The mortality rate was 16.7%. Multivariate analysis after adjusting for age, gender and means of transportation revealed that age (odds ratio (OR) 63.41, 95% confidence interval (CI) 9.24 -43.53), a crouched position during transfer (OR 23.52, 95% CI 7.26 - 74.53), presentation after 24 hours (OR 5.48, 95% CI 3.20 - 16.42) and multiple hospital presentations (OR 7.94, 95% CI 1.89 - 33.43) were associated with death within 6 weeks of admission. CONCLUSION: Well-organised and efficient prehospital transport would reduce mortality in spinal cord-injured patients. Providing information on prehospital transport would also reduce mortality.