Annals of Tropical Medicine and Public Health
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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 435-440

The emerging trend in the epidemiology of gunshot injuries in the emergency department of a Nigerian tertiary hospital in a State without formal prehospital emergency medical services

1 Department of Family Medicine, Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia, Abia state, Nigeria
2 Department of Ophthalmology, Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia, Abia state, Nigeria
3 Department of Public Health Technology, Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Imo state, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Gabriel Uche Pascal Iloh
Department of Family Medicine Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia Nigeria, Umuahia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1755-6783.127794

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Background : Gunshot injuries (GSIs) though a rarity in Nigeria before the Nigerian civil war have now become rampant with variable epidemiology. It is emerging as a common cause of trauma-related emergency hospitalizations. Aim: The study was aimed at reviewing the epidemiology of gunshot injuries in the emergency department (ED) of a Nigerian tertiary hospital over a 5-year period. Materials and Methods: This was a retrospective study of GSIs seen at the ED of Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia, Nigeria using data from medical records, patients' case notes, ED admission registers, and nurses' report books. The data collected included age, sex, place of the incidence, time of the incidence, time of presentation to the hospital, anatomic sites, and etiology of the injury. Results : The age ranged from 14 years to 80 years with mean age of 47 ± 8.1 years. There were 95 males and 22 females with a male to female ratio of 4.3:1. The three most common causes were armed robbery (31.6%), kidnapping (21.3%), and police brutality (17.9%). The incident predominantly affected the middle age group (57.3%), occurred mostly during the day time (72.6%), affecting mainly the lower limbs (65.8%) and majority (84.6%) of the victims presented 1 hour after the injury. None of the victims received prehospital care. Conclusion: There was variability in the epidemiology of GSIs with kidnapping and police brutality emerging among preeminent contributors and downward trend of armed robbery-related GSIs. The incident occurred predominantly during the day time and most victims presented late to the ED. Interventional strategies including the responsible security apparatus system are advocated.

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