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Injury. 2012 Nov;43(11):1861-4. doi: 10.1016/j.injury.2011.07.016. Epub 2011 Aug 5.

Epidemiology and pattern of paediatric and adolescent trauma deaths in a level 1 trauma centre in Benin city, Nigeria.

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Paediatric Surgery, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City, Nigeria.



Trauma is a common cause of death amongst children/adolescents, and data on its epidemiology and pattern are crucial for policy formulation. The aim of this study was to determine the epidemiology and pattern of paediatric/adolescent trauma death in a Nigerian referral trauma centre.


The clinical and autopsy data of all paediatric/adolescent trauma death at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital between 1999 and 2010 were analysed in a retrospective study.


Of 905 trauma-related deaths, 78 (9%) involved children/adolescents who comprised 49 males and 29 females, with a male/female ratio 1.7:1 and a mean age of 9.2 ± 5 years (range <1-18 years). The Injury-Arrival time varied from 1h to 4 days (mean 18 h). Thirteen (17%) cases were dead on arrival (DOA), and majority of the deaths occurred within the first week on admission. Road traffic accident (RTA), accounting for 61 (78%) cases, was the leading cause of trauma death. Other causes included burns, eight (10%); gunshot injury, five (6%); and stab and sport injuries, two (3%) cases each. Head injury which occurred in 44 (56%) cases was the commonest cause of death, followed by haemorrhagic shock in 25 (32%), hypovolaemic shock in five (6%), septic shock in three (4%) and spinal cord injury in one (1%).


Head injury following RTA was the major cause of paediatric/adolescent trauma deaths. Increased road safety campaign, appropriate injury control policies, legislations, enforcement, development of high-quality trauma system, and emergency medical services are advocated.

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