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Prehospital transport of spinal cord-injured patients in Nigeria

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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, injuryto-arrival intervals and persons who brought spinal cordinjured 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. SAJS, VOL 50, NO. 1, february 2012


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