Some surgeons believe that internal fixation of fractures carries too high a risk of infection in low-income countries (LICs) to merit its use there. However, there have been too few studies from LICs with sufficient follow-up to support this belief. We first wanted to determine whether complete follow-up could be achieved in an LIC, and secondly, we wanted to find the true microbial infection rate at our hospital and to examine the influence of HIV infection and lack of follow-up on outcomes.137 patients with 141 femoral fractures that were treated with intramedullary (IM) nailing were included. We compared outcomes in patients who returned for scheduled follow-up and patients who did not return but who could be contacted by phone or visited in their home village.79 patients returned for follow-up as scheduled; 29 of the remaining patients were reached by phone or outreach visits, giving a total follow-up rate of 79%. 7 patients (5%) had a deep postoperative infection. All of them returned for scheduled follow-up. There were no infections in patients who did not return for follow-up, as compared to 8 of 83 nails in the group that did return as scheduled (p = 0.1). 2 deaths occurred in HIV-positive patients (2/23), while no HIV-negative patients (0/105) died less than 30 days after surgery (p = 0.03).We found an acceptable infection rate. The risk of infection should not be used as an argument against IM nailing of femoral fractures in LICs. Many patients in Malawi did not return for follow-up because they had no complaints concerning the fracture. There was an increased postoperative mortality rate in HIV-positive patients.
Approximately 2000 lives are lost in Uganda annually through road traffic accidents. In Kampala, they account for 39% of all injuries, primarily in males aged 16-44 years. They are a result of rapid motorization and urbanization in a country with a poor economy. Uganda’s population is an estimated 28 million with a growth rate of 3.4% per year. Motorcycles and omnibuses, the main taxi vehicles, are the primary contributors to the accidents. Poor roads and drivers compound the situation. Twenty-three orthopaedic surgeons (one for every 1,300,000 people) provide specialist services that are available only at three regional hospitals and the National Referral Hospital in Kampala. The majority of musculoskeletal injuries are managed nonoperatively by 200 orthopaedic officers distributed at the district, regional and national referral hospitals. Because of the poor economy, 9% of the national budget is allocated to the health sector. Patients with musculoskeletal injuries in Uganda frequently fail to receive immediate care due to inadequate resources and most are treated by traditional bonesetters. Neglected injuries typically result in poor outcomes. Possible solutions include a public health approach for prevention of road traffic injuries, training of adequate human resources, and infrastructure development.
This study is aimed at identifying the characteristics of injuries and determining the efficiency of documentation of patients’ records in a tertiary hospital where there is no trauma registry. A retrospective case record analysis was conducted of injured patients seen at the Accident and Emergency unit over a 12 month period from January to December 2003.A total of 1078 records of injured patients that attended the A&E were analysed. Their mean age was 31 years (range 3 months to 85 years). Laceration (n = 408) and fractures (n = 266) representing 62.5% of injuries were seen. Injuries to the lower limb occurred in 239 patients, multiple anatomical sites 224, head 224, upper limb 203, the neck 20, and the abdomen 11 patients. Trauma was due to road traffic accident in 977 patients, fall in 39, assault in 14 while burns and firearm injuries occurred in 5 and 7 patients respectively. The mean injury severity score (ISS) was 4. Severe injuries, ISS > 15 occurred in 54 patients with mean ISS of 21, and resulted from RTA in 92.6% of cases. Mortality from severe injuries occurred in 31.5% of cases while overall mortality was 2%. Most deaths were associated with multiple injuries (60.9%) and head injury (30.4%). Incomplete documentation of accident and injury data occurred frequently, from 2% of some data to 100% of others.Lacerations and fractures were the most common injuries. Mortality is due usually to head and multiple injuries. Research into appropriate strategies for prevention of injuries, especially RTA, is required but this must start with the establishment of institutional and regional trauma registries for complete documentation of relevant data.