Objective: There has been a worldwide rise in the prevalence of penetrating abdominal injury (PAI), and there are both inter-country and intra-country variations in frequencies. This study evaluates the mechanisms and pattern of penetrating abdominal injuries and the treatment outcome in our center.
Methods: This descriptive study of adult patients managed for PAI was conducted at the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital (EKSUTH), Ado-Ekiti from January 2015 to December 2018. Data were prospectively collected and analyzed by using descriptive statistics from Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20.0.
Results: There were 96 patients managed for abdominal injuries during the study period. Forty-six (47.9%) of them had PAI, while 50 (52.1%) others sustained blunt trauma. Patients ages ranged from 17-72 years (mean = 34.2±10.8 years; median = 34 years). Majority, 42 (91.3%), were males, while 4 (8.7%) were females (M: F=11:1). The most afflicted age group was in the 4th decade. Majority of the injuries were due to gunshot (60.9%) followed by stab (26.1%), unsafe abortion (6.5%), road traffic injury (4.3%) and fall (2.2%). Gastrointestinal injuries were the most common with small bowel perforations predominating. Solid organ injuries were only seen in 3 (7.9%) patients. Eight (17.4%) had associated extra-abdominal injuries. Thirty-eight (82.6%) patients required exploratory laparotomy, while 8 (17.4%) were managed non-operatively. The negative laparotomy rate was 2.6%. Seven (15.2%) patients developed complications which were mostly wound infection (10.8%). The duration of hospital stay was 1-58 days (mean 12.7±10.5). Three patients (6.5%) with gunshot injuries died.
Conclusion: Gunshot wounds were the major variant of PAI, and the highest cause of mortality from it. Gut injuries were most common, and exploratory laparotomy remains the main-stay of treatment, while non-operative management is practicable in carefully selected cases.