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Burden of Surgical Infections in a Tertiary-Care Pediatric Surgery Service in Uganda.

Delayed presentation of surgical disease often leads to infection in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). In addition, many primary infections require surgical intervention. The burden of infection in children's surgery in LMICs is poorly defined and may tax the limited availability of surgical resources.
A prospective surgical database was reviewed for all children presenting to a Ugandan tertiary referral hospital from January 2012 to August 2016. All patients presenting with infection were included and analyzed by operative intervention and survival.
Of the 3,494 children admitted over the time period, 712 (20.4%) presented with infection. A total of 455 patients (64%) with an infection underwent an operation, with an in-hospital mortality rate of 12.5%. Operations involving infections represented 20% of the volume of the children's surgery department. Common conditions were abscesses (n = 308; 43.4%), typhoid intestinal perforations (n = 85; 12.0%), appendicitis (n = 78; 11.0%) and perforated bowel caused by ileocolic intussusception (n = 37; 5.2%). Patients with esophageal atresia presenting with aspiration pneumonia had an in-hospital mortality rate of 78.6%, those with abdominal sepsis a 67% mortality rate, and neonatal infants with necrotizing enterocolitis a 50% mortality rate.
There is a high volume of infection in children requiring surgery, contributing to a high mortality rate. Resource allocation for children's surgical care in LMIC should be directed toward timely diagnosis and surgical intervention of these conditions.


Kakembo, Nasser, David F. Grabski, Tamara N. Fitzgerald, Arlene Muzira, Maija Cheung, Phyllis Kisa, John Sekabira, and Doruk Ozgediz. “Burden of Surgical Infections in a Tertiary-Care Pediatric Surgery Service in Uganda.” Surg Infect (Larchmt) 21, no. 2 (March 2020): 130–35.

Published Date: 
Sunday, March 1, 2020
Published In: 
Surg Infect (Larchmt)