Hospital Mortality FollowingTrauma: An Analysis of a Hospital-Based Injury Surveillance Registry in sub-SaharanAfrica

IMPORTANCE: Injuries are a significant cause of death and disability, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. Health care systems in resource-poor countries lack personnel and are ill equipped to treat severely injured patients; therefore, many injury related deaths occur after hospital admission.
OBJECTIVES: This study evaluates the mortality for hospitalized trauma patients at a tertiary care hospital in Malawi.
DESIGN: This study is a retrospective analysis of prospectively collected trauma surveillance data. We performed univariate and bivariate analyses to describe the population and logistic regression analysis to identify predictors of mortality.
SETTING: Tertiary care hospital in sub-Saharan Africa.
PARTICIPANT: Patients with traumatic injuries admitted to Kamuzu Central Hospital between January 2010 and December 2012.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Predictors of in-hospital mortality.
RESULTS: The study population consisted of 7559 patients, with an average age of 27 years (18 years) and a male predominance of 76%. Road traffic injuries, falls, and assaults were the most common causes of injury. The overall mortality was 4.2%. After adjusting for age, sex, type and mechanism of injury, and shock index, head/spine injuries had the highest odds of mortality, with an odds ratio of 5.80 (2.71-12.40).
CONCLUSION AND RELEVANCE: The burden of injuries in sub-Saharan Africa remains high. At this institution, road traffic injuries are the leading cause of injury and injury-related death. The most significant predictor of in-hospital mortality is the presence of head or spinal injury. These findings may be mitigated by a comprehensive injury-prevention effort targeting drivers and other road users and by increased attention and resources dedicated to the treatment of patients with head and/or spine injuries in the hospital setting.