A five year retrospective study was carried out at the University of
Calabar Teaching Hospital to assess the impact of airway maintenance in
the management outcome of tetanus patient treated in the hospital
between January 2000 and December 2004. A total of 87 patients
consisting of 61 males and 26 females formed the subjects of the study.
Information for analysis was carefully abstracted from the case note of
each subject retrieved from the medical records unit. The results showed
a high mortality rate of 63.2% within the period of review. Factors that
adversely affected prognosis included respiratory difficulty from lack
of airway maintenance, shorter period of onset after exposure, increased
severity and frequency of spasms and features of autonomic dysfunction.
Patients with a history of previous immunization against tetanus and
female patients had good prognosis. Aspiration pneumonia and septicaemia
were the commonest associated complications observed in the study.
Tetanus still remains a very deadly disease in our environment despite
the availability of a safe and effective vaccine against it. Concerted
efforts should be made to manage these patiets adequately by providing
intensive care treatment.
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