Blunt Chest Injury: epidemiological profile and determinant of mortality

Kelechi E. Okonta, Emmanuel O. Ocheli


Background: The identification of the epidemiological profile and the determinants of mortality for blunt chest injuries (BCI) ensures the proper documentation of susceptible patients, and the implementation of strategies for prompt and improved patients’ care.

Methods: This is a prospective study for a 4-year period at two tertiary hospitals in Nigeria. The inclusion criteria were patients who had BCI, did chest radiograph and admitted for treatment. The statistical software for analysis was SPSS version 22 and using Pearson’s X2 and spearman’s X2 for correlation of mortality with the Injury Severity Score (ISS), Glasgow Coma Scale(GCS) and Hemi-thorax affected. The p-value was significant at <0.001.

Results: I One-hundred and twenty-six (52.3%) of 241 patients had BCI, the average age was 40.4years with a range of 0.8-79years.There were 104 (82.5%) male with a ratio of 4.7:1. Most patients 86(68.3%) were between 19-59 years of age, 85 (67.5%)were unskilled workers and 57 (45%) had no formal education. Most 66.7% of the injuries occurred in the first half of the year with a peak (16.3%) in March. Mondays and Fridays,and, morning hours were the peak periods. BCI was by motor vehicular accidents 94 (74.6%), falls 28 (22.2%), and other causes 4 ((3.2%). The associated injuries were extremities 25(19.8%,), cranio-spinal injuries 17(13.5%) and blunt abdominal injuries13 (10.3%). Eleven (8.7%) patients died within one-month of admission. The determinants of mortality were high ISS (p<0.001), severe head injury (p<0.001) and bilateral chest injury (p<0.001).

Conclusions: The contribution of falls to BCI is on the increase with BCI occurring at periods of increased activities like Mondays, Fridays and morning hours.The determinants of mortality were high  ISS ,severe head injury and bilateral chest injury.


Blunt trauma, Chest injury, Nigeria, Mortality

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