Clinical Characteristics and Challenges of Management of Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury in a Trauma Center of a Developing Country

Ayodeji Salman Yusuf, Muhammad Raji Mahmud, Dumura Jeneral Alfin, Samue Isa Gana, Samaila Timothy, Evaristus Emeka Nwaribe, Nasir Kurfi Dalhat, Ajibade Afeez Aruna, Mohammed Mansur Idris
Journal of Neurosciences in Rural Practice 2019, 10 (3): 393-399
Background  Traumatic spinal cord injury (TSCI) is a major burden in trauma care worldwide. Most victims are young, and the injury results in economic loss and psychological and social burden on the individual and the society. The outcome depends on the severity of primary spinal cord injury, interventions to prevent secondary insults to the damaged cord, and access to a specialized care. The lack of standard prehospital care and dedicated facilities for spine care coupled with challenges of inadequate health insurance coverage impact negatively on the outcome of care in patients with spinal cord injury in our practice. Objectives  This study was performed to determine the clinical profile of patients with TSCI and to highlight the factors that determine the early outcome in a resource-constrained trauma center. Materials and Methods   This study was a retrospective review of trauma registry and medical records of all the patients with acute TSCI at the National Trauma Center Abuja from September 2014 to December 2016. Results  A total of 133 patients with TSCI were studied. Most of these patients were young men with a mean age of 36 years. Most injury (72.2%) occurred following motor vehicular crash affecting mainly the cervical spinal cord (62.0%). None of the patients received standard prehospital care. Only 41.4% of the patients were transported to the hospital in an ambulance. About half (52.6%) of the patients suffered complete spinal cord injury (the American Spinal Injury Association [ASIA] A), and pressure ulcer was the most common complication (23.3%). Only 42% of the patients that needed surgical intervention were operated, mainly due to the inability to pay for the service. The ASIA grade on admission was the most significant determinant factor of morbidity and mortality. Conclusion  Optimal care of patients with TSCI was hindered by inadequate facilities and economic constraints.

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