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J Neurosci Rural Pract. 2018 Oct-Dec;9(4):545-550. doi: 10.4103/jnrp.jnrp_502_17.

Determinants of Timing of Presentation of Neurotrauma Patients to a Neurosurgical Center in a Developing Country.

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Department of Neurological Surgery, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria.
Division of Neurological Surgery, Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria.



A major goal in neurotrauma management is the prevention of secondary neuronal injuries. This goal is time bound as neurological deficits once established are usually irreversible. Late presentation is the norm in most neurotrauma patients in developing countries.


The aim of the study was to review the timing of presentation of neurotrauma patients and the possible causes of their late presentation for neurosurgical care in our practice.


A cross-sectional study of a 4-month prospective database of neurotrauma patients presenting to the University College Hospital, Ibadan, was done. The participants' biodata, injury characteristics, initial-care details before referral, and information on timing and causes of delay were analyzed.


The study subjects included 111 patients, 80.2% (89/111) were males, and 52.8% aged 21-40 years. Head injury (HI), spinal cord injury (SCI), and combined HI and SCI occurred, respectively, in 80.2%, 14.4%, and 5.4%. Road accidents followed by falls were seen in 73.9% and 14.4% (16), respectively. Just 46.8% (52/111) cases presented within 12 h of injury and only 37 (33.3%) within 4 h. Majority, 83.8% (93/111) were referrals from primary care. These referrals were delayed in 81.7% (76/93) of these. The referring health facilities were located intracity with our center in 54%. Other causes of delayed presentation of these study participants included long-distance travel to our center, lack of funds, or a combination of the above factors. Eighty-nine patients (80.2%) were brought in by family members and the remaining minority by passers-by and road safety personnel.


Delayed referral from primary care features prominently in timing of presentation of neurotrauma patients in Nigeria. There is a need for collaboration as well as continuing medical education between the neurotrauma specialists and primary care physicians.


Developing country; neurosurgery; neurotrauma; timing of presentation

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