Background: Polytrauma which is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality world-wide is associated with long hospital stay and loss of productivity.
Objective: To determine the morbidity and mortality associated with polytrauma in an urban African tertiary hospital.
Methods: This prospective study was carried out at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) between 1st November 2004 and 31st October 2006 All surviving patients with significant multiple injuries that presented at LUTH over the period were studied. Data were collected and analysed included age, gender, complications and outcomes.
Results: Two hundred and ninety-one patients with multiple trauma were studied excluding those brought in dead. Most (75.3%) of the patients were males. Ages were affected ranged from two years to 76 years with a mean of 32.2 +/- 16.4 years. The commonest complication was wound infection 24 (32.0%) followed by bedsores 12 (16.0%). Forty-two (14%) patients died. These deaths were associated with average high injury severity score of 37.2 +/- 12.0. Six patients had amputation and all of them had mangled extremity severity score greater than seven. Prolonged hospital stay was recorded among patients with fractures and spinal injuries, who had average stay of 71 days.
Conclusion: Wound infection and high death rates among patients with high injury severity scores are the commonest complications in polytrauma as seen in this African teriary hospital.