Mechanism of Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury in Southwestern Uganda: A Prospective Cohort of 100 Patients

World Neurosurg. 2018 Jun:114:e396-e402. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2018.02.191. Epub 2018 Mar 10.


Background: Road traffic incidents (RTIs), falls, and violence contribute to more than two thirds of pediatric traumatic brain injuries in sub-Saharan Africa. In this study, we sought to assess mechanisms of pediatric traumatic brain injury in an effort to propose interventions for more effective pediatric head injury prevention.

Methods: A cohort of 100 patients who were <18 years treated at Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital between November 2016 and June 2017 were enrolled in the study. Information on etiology of injury was obtained via a questionnaire administered to patient caretakers at the time of admission.

Results: The mean age was found to be 7.5 years (standard deviation 5.2) and 38% were female. In our sample, 61% had computed tomography imaging done, of whom 88.5% had a positive finding. A majority of patients presented with a mild head injury (55%). RTIs were the predominant mechanism of injury across age groups (75%). Across all age groups, falls were responsible for a greater proportion of injuries in children aged 10-14 years (13.3%), whereas the greatest proportion of intentional injuries was reported in age group 10-14 and 15-17 years, 20% and 31.3%, respectively. Patients involved in pedestrian RTIs were significantly younger compared with those injured in nonpedestrian RTIs. Most parents (87.9%) were not with their children at the time of a pedestrian RTI.

Conclusions: In Southwestern Uganda, the majority of pediatric neurotrauma patients are injured pedestrians, with no adult supervision at the time of the injury. Conducting a public awareness and education campaign on the necessity of child supervision is critical to decreasing pediatric head injuries in Uganda.

Keywords: Low- and middle-income countries; Pedestrian injuries; Pediatric head trauma.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic*
  • Adolescent
  • Age Distribution
  • Brain Injuries, Traumatic / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain Injuries, Traumatic / epidemiology*
  • Brain Injuries, Traumatic / etiology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tomography Scanners, X-Ray Computed
  • Uganda / epidemiology
  • Violence*