A hospital-based survey of small arms injuries in a community in Nigeria
Keywords:Small arms, Gunshots, Injuries
Background: Some reports on small arms from Nigeria have been published, most of which are retrospective studies.
Objective: To present a 12 month prospective survey of small arms injuries with a view to adding to the body of knowledge on this subject.
Methods: A prospective study and analysis of all patients admitted for gunshot injuries (GSI) at the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, Uyo Nigeria between September 2010 and August 2011. Data collected include: age, sex, occupation, whether GSI was intentional or unintentional, type of gunshot, circumstances surrounding the injury, sites of injury (single or multiple) and the eventual outcome.
Results: There were 64 patients in all, 61 males and three females (M: F=20:1).Peak age was 21-30 years, predominantly students by occupation (21, 32.8%), 53(82.8%) were intentional while 11 (17.2%) were unintentional. There were nine high velocity GSI while 55 (86%) were low velocity GSI. Armed robbers fired 30 victims (46.9%) while students' cultists fired eight (12.5%). The regions were single in 45 (70.3%) while 19 were multiple (29.7%). The lower extremities were involved 19 times, head and neck nine, upper extremities nine, chest four, abdomen and pelvis four where single site injuries occurred. There were seven deaths, three of whom had abdominal GSI, two in the extremities from exsanguination and one multiple regions GSI including the abdomen.
Conclusion: This study has highlighted the male and armed robbery factor in intentional gunshot injuries and these calls for strategies to ensure safer communities.
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