Ethiop Med J. 2015 Apr;53(2):75-82.


Background: Spinal injury is a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Fall and Road traffic accident are the main etiologic factor.

Objective: The aim of this study was to asses local hospital patterns of spinal injury and compare them with published reports.

Methods and patients: This is a hospital based cross sectional study of patterns of patients with spine and spinal cord injury seen at the Emergency OPD, Tikur Anbessa Specialized Teaching Hospital (TASTH), Department of Neurosurgery, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in the period between April 2008 and March 2012. Data was collected using structured questionnaires. The variables included were the Socio-demographic such as age sex, distance of patients' residence area from the TAH. In addition to the above profiles, causes of injuries, Occupation, diagnosis, time spent between arrival andAdmission and decision taken at OPD level. Differences in proportions were examined using Chi-square test.

Results: A statistically significant male predominance (84.9%) (p, 0.0001) was observed, the mean age was 32.8 years, with range 10 to 84 years. Mean duration of presentation to TASH was 4.3 days with a range 1 hour-60 days, Fall from height (P < 0.001) and Road traffic collisions were the main cause of spine and spinal cord injuries in 36.4% and 32.9% of the patients respectively. Most often the cervical spine was involved (33.0%), Sixty-nine (17.9%) patients had associated injuries, majority of respondents (25.5%) were farmers, Majority belonged to ASIA A grade. All the deaths, 7 (8.3%) occurred in patients with complete cervical spine lesion.

Conclusion: Spinal injury was an important indication for neurosurgical consultations in our service. Complete cord injuries were more common than incomplete and the case incidence from fall was remarkably high.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Ethiopia / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sex Distribution
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / etiology
  • Spinal Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Spinal Injuries / etiology
  • Young Adult