Background: There is increasing importance of trauma not only as a major cause of surgical admissions, but also a significant cause of morbidity, mortality and disability.
Objective: To document injury-related visits and hospitalization in a provincial hospital, western Kenya.
Methods: On-site review of records of all patients who visited emergency department (ED) from January 2002 through December 2003, and admissions of year 2003.
Results: A total of 15365 patients visited the ED, of which 41% (6319/15395) were injury cases. The leading causes of injury were assault (42%), road traffic crashes (RTC) (28%), unspecified soft tissue injury (STI) (11%). Cut-wounds, dog-bites, falls, burns and poisoning were infrequently reported (each <10%). The age group 15-44 years formed the largest proportion (75%). A total of 3253 patients were admitted in 2003, of which 1010 (31%) were due to injuries. RTC were leading cause of hospitalization (49%) followed by assault (16%). Men were more likely to be hospitalized due to assault (OR=2.22; CI = 1.45 - 3.41) and not burns or poisoning (p<0.01). There were 64 (6.3%) injury-related deaths, mainly resulting from RTC (41.9%), burns (19.4%) and assault (16.1%).
Conclusions: This study provides considerable information on major causes of injuries, useful for epidemiological surveillance and injury prevention campaigns.
Keywords: Africa; Emergency; Kenya; hospitalization; visit.