Background: The incidence of cut throat injuries irrespective of the cause is on the increase worldwide but they are underreported in Nigeria. The neck contains a lot of vital organs and great vessels which make the patients with injuries to the neck to present most times as emergency. The management of cut throat injuries is bedeviled with complications which can be reduced to the barest minimum if managed by the specialists. Our aim and objectives are to determine the pattern of cut throat injuries as seen in University of Port-Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) and to highlight the factors responsible for the morbidity and the mortality associated with this condition.
Methodology: The study is a retrospective review of cut throat injuries that presented to the Ear Nose and Throat (E.N.T.) department of University of Port-Harcourt Teaching Hospital (U.P.T.H.) over a 10 yr period (1995 to 2010). The accident and emergency department records; ward records and theatre registers were the main source of the information. Twenty four cases were recorded and analyzed. The data extracted for analysis were age, sex, occupation, clinical presentation, treatment, duration of stay and complications.
Results: All the patients were males; age range was 26-45 years. The commonest age group affected was 31-35 years, suicide accounted for 60% of cases. Majority (62.5%) of patients were unemployed. Lacerations of the anterior aspect of the neck, aphonia with exposure of the thyroid cartilage were the commonest clinical features. Majority (58.3%) of the patients had complications following treatment while two patients had mortality.
Conclusion: Cut throat injuries require a multidisciplinary approach and could be managed with better prognosis if the patients present early to the hospital and are given prompt attention. Poor socioeconomic status and poverty have been associated with a high incidence of cut throat injuries.