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Spinal Cord. 2013 Jun;51(6):448-52. doi: 10.1038/sc.2013.10. Epub 2013 Mar 12.

Epidemiological and treatment profiles of spinal cord injury in southeast Nigeria.

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Orthopaedic Surgery Unit, Department of Surgery, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH) Enugu/Hilltop Hospital, Enugu, Nigeria.



Retrospective study.


To evaluate the epidemiology and treatment outcome of spinal cord injuries (SCIs) at three tertiary care centres within southeast Nigeria.


Southeast Nigeria.


Causes, seasonal variation, transportation to hospital, severity of injury, treatment and outcome of patients with SCIs treated by the authors at three study locations from September 2009 to August 2012 were studied.


Eighty-five patients with SCI had been admitted during that period to the three hospitals and were qualified for the study. The age range was 2-75 years with a mean of 36.13 years. The 31-45 years age group is the most frequently affected. Altogether, 69 male and 16 female individuals were involved. Motor vehicle accident (MVA) (47, 55.3%) was the most frequent cause of injury. Falls from palm trees (3.5%) were markedly reduced from what they were inferred to be (40.2%) from a similar study in our area in 1988. Injury peaks were observed during major festivities. Only three patients (0.035%) were transported to care centres with an ambulance. Forty patients were classified as being affected by ASIA grade A injury, whereas 45 patients had various ASIA grades of incomplete injury. Sixty-eight patients were managed conservatively; 23 of them improved from their grades, 35 remained the same, 1 worsened, while 9 died. Of 17 patients treated operatively, 9 improved, 5 remained the same, 2 worsened and 1 died.


Currently, SCIs reported in the three main hospitals located in southeast Nigeria are caused mainly by MVAs. SCI affects mainly male individuals and peak frequencies are observed during festivities.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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