Pattern of admissions and outcome in the children emergency department of a tertiary health institution in Southwestern Nigeria: A four-year review

Afr J Emerg Med. 2023 Jun;13(2):45-51. doi: 10.1016/j.afjem.2023.02.001. Epub 2023 Feb 18.


Introduction: Pediatrics and adolescents are susceptible to illnesses that often necessitate emergency attention. Morbidity and mortality from illnesses in these ages have attracted much interest globally, particularly in Africa. Knowledge of pattern and outcomes of admissions may guide policy and interventions especially in resource constrained settings. The study aimed to determine the pattern of admissions, outcomes and seasonal variations of conditions that presented at the children emergency of a tertiary health institution over a four-year period.

Methods: A retrospective descriptive study of children emergency admissions from January 2016 to December 2019. Information obtained included age, diagnosis, month and year of admission, and outcome. Descriptive statistics were used to describe the demographic characteristics and Chi-squared test to assess their associations with the diagnoses made.

Results: There were 3,223 admissions. There were more males (1866; 57.9%) and more toddlers (1181; 36.6%). The highest number of admissions were observed in the year 2018 (951; 29.6%) and during the wet season (1962; 60.9%). There was an overall mortality rate of 7%; complicated malaria, gastroenteritis and meningitis were the leading causes of death. Malaria (χ2 = 135.522, p value < 0.001), and gastroenteritis (χ2 = 130.883, p value < 0.001) were predominant among the toddlers while sepsis (χ2 = 71.530, p value < 0.001) and pneumonia (χ2 = 133.739, p value < 0.001) were more among the infants. Typhoid enteritis (χ2 = 26.629, p value < 0.001) and HIV (χ2 = 16.419, p value = 0.012) were commoner among the early adolescents.

Conclusion: The major causes of death in the study area are preventable with more of these amongst the children under the age of 5 years. There are seasonal and age-related patterns to admissions and the need for policy formulations and emergency preparations to be tailored towards these observed patterns through the year.

Keywords: Admissions; Adolescents; Children; Infections; Outcome.