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Year : 2003  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 92-95

Clinical and management factors related to outcome in neonatal tetanus

Department of Paediatrics, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Lagos, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
C N Okoromah
Department of Paediatrics, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Lagos
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Although tetanus is a well-recognised, well-described, preventable and eradicable infection, it continues to ravage the lives of children in developing countries, especially among neonates. A cross-sectional review of cases of neonatal tetanus seen in LUTH was carried out retrospectively. Thirty-nine (39) cases were studied, comprising 26 (63.4%) males and 15 (36.6%) females, giving a male: female ratio of 1.6:1. Case fatality rate was 10.3%, thirty-five (89.7%) cases survived, of which nine (23.8%) survived with complications. Clinical factors that influence outcome were: a short interval between onset and presentation (p = 0.03), low tetanus score below 6.0 (p = 0.002), hyperpyrexia (p = 0.0001), heart failure (p = 0.035), cyanosis (p = 0.008) and crepitations (p = 0.003). Although several management factors were associated with mortality, these failed to meet statistical significance (p > 0.05). In this study, clinical factors, including presentation interval, were the principal determinants of outcome. The need for intensification and sustenance of preventive measures, early recognition and presentation, prompt treatment as well as improved care are emphasised. We recommend periodic audit of patient clinical data towards improving quality of care.

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