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1.  Paediatric neck masses at a University teaching hospital in northwestern Tanzania: a prospective analysis of 148 cases 
BMC Research Notes  2014;7(1):772.
Pediatric neck masses are one of the common surgical conditions presenting to the pediatric surgical wards and clinics in many centers worldwide. There is paucity of published information regarding pediatric neck masses in Tanzania and the study area in particular. This study determines the etiology, clinico-histopathological patterns and treatment outcome of pediatric neck masses and to identify predictors of outcome in our local setting.
This was a prospective cross-sectional hospital based study done in children aged ten years and below with neck masses for a five months period. Statistical data analysis was done using SPSS version 17.0.
A total of 148 patients were studied. Their ages ranged from 2 months to 10 years (median 3 years). The male to female ratio was 2.5:1. Inflammatory lesions were the most frequent cause of neck masses accounting for 43.9% of cases. The median duration of illness was 2 years. Except for the neck mass, 72 (48.6%) of the children had clinically stable health condition on presentation. The posterior triangle was commonly involved in 118 (79.7%) patients. eight (5.4%) were HIV positive. The majority of patients (95.9%) were treated surgically. Postoperative complication rate was 30.4% and surgical site infection was the most frequent complication in 37.5% of cases. The median length of hospital stay was 10 days and was significantly longer in patients with malignant masses and those with surgical site infection (p <0.001). The overall mortality rate in this study was 8.1% and it was significantly associated with malignant masses, associated pre-existing illness, late presentation, HIV positivity, low CD 4 count, high ASA class and presence of surgical site infections (p <0.001). The outcome of patients on discharge was excellent as more than 90% of patients were successfully treated and discharged well.
Pediatric neck masses are among the most common causes of paediatric surgical admissions and pose a diagnostic and therapeutic challenge in our setting. We advocate early surgical consultation and thorough and timely histopathological examination of neck masses in children.
PMCID: PMC4232708  PMID: 25362965
Pediatrics; Neck masses; Patterns; Predictors; Outcome; Tanzania
2.  Hirschsprung’s disease in children: a five year experience at a University teaching hospital in northwestern Tanzania 
BMC Research Notes  2014;7:410.
Hirschsprung’s disease (HD) is the commonest cause of functional intestinal obstruction in children and poses challenges to pediatricians and pediatric surgeons practicing in resource-limited countries. This study describes the clinical characteristics and outcome of management of this disease in our setting and highlights challenges associated with the care of these patients and proffer solutions for improved outcome.
This was a descriptive prospective study of children aged ≤ 10 years who were histologically diagnosed and treated for HD at our centre between July 2008 and June 2013.
A total of 110 patients (M: F ratio= 3.6:1) with a median age of 24 months were studied. Six (5.5%) patients were in the neonatal period. Sixty-four (58.2%) patients had complete intestinal obstruction whereas 42 (38.2%) and 4 (3.6%) patients had chronic intestinal obstruction and intestinal perforation respectively. No patient had enterocolitis. Constipation (94.5%) was the most common complaints. 109 (99.1%) patients had colostomy prior to the definitive pull-through. The median duration of colostomy before definitive pull-through was 4 months. The majority of patients (67.3%) had short segment of aganglionosis localized to the recto-sigmoid region. The definitive pull-through was performed in 94 (85.5%) patients (Swenson’s pull-through 76 (80.9%), Duhamel’s pull-through (12.8%) and Soave’s pull-through 4 (4.3%) patients). Postoperative complication rate was 47.3%. The median length of hospital stay was 26 days. Patients who developed complications stayed longer in the hospital and this was statistically significant (p <0.001). Mortality rate was 21.8%. The age < 4 weeks, delayed presentation and surgical site infection were the main predictors of mortality (p < 0.001). During the follow-up period, the results of Swenson’s and Duhamel’s pull through procedures were generally good in 87.8% and 42.9% of patients respectively. The result of Soave’s procedures was generally poor in this study.
HD remains the commonest cause of functional intestinal obstruction in children and contributes significantly to high morbidity and mortality in our setting. The majority of patients present late when the disease becomes complicated. Early diagnosis and timely definitive pull through procedure are essential in order to decrease the morbidity and mortality associated with this disease.
PMCID: PMC4083133  PMID: 24973940
Hirschsprung’s disease; Clinical presentation; Management; Outcome; Tanzania
3.  Pattern and factors associated with congenital anomalies among young infants admitted at Bugando medical centre, Mwanza, Tanzania 
BMC Research Notes  2014;7:195.
Congenital anomalies or birth defects are among the leading causes of infant mortality and morbidity around the world. The impact of congenital anomalies is particularly severe in middle- and low-income countries where health care resources are limited. The prevalence of congenital anomalies varies in different parts of the world, which could reflect different aetiological factors in different geographical regions.
Between October 2012 and January 2013, a cross-sectional study was conducted involving young infants below 2 months of age, admitted at a university teaching hospital in Tanzania. Face-to-face interviews with parents/caretakers of young infants were carried out to collect socio-demographic and clinical information. Physical examinations were performed on all young infants. Echocardiography, X-ray, cranial as well as abdominal ultrasonographies were performed when indicated.
Analysis of the data showed that among 445 young infants enrolled in the study, the prevalence of congenital anomalies was 29%, with the Central Nervous System (CNS) as the most commonly affected organ system. Maternal factors that were significantly associated with congenital anomalies included the lack of peri-conceptional use of folic acid (OR = 3.1; 95% CI = 1.4-6.7; p = 0.005), a maternal age of above 35 years (OR = 2.2; 95% CI = 1.1-4.3; p = 0.024) and an inadequate attendance to antenatal clinic (OR = 2.1; 95% CI = 1.4-3.3; p < 0.001). Infant factors that were significantly associated with congenital anomalies were female sex, a birth weight of 2.5 kg or more, singleton pregnancy and a birth order above 4.
Due to the high prevalence of congenital anomalies observed in this particular context, the hospital should mobilize additional resources for an optimal and timely management of the patients with congenital anomalies. In this study, the proportion of women taking folic acid supplements during early pregnancy was very low. Efforts should be made to ensure that more women use folic acid during the peri-conceptional period, as the use of folic acid supplement has been linked by several authors to a reduced occurrence of some congenital anomalies.
PMCID: PMC3974194  PMID: 24679067
4.  Surgical management of inguinal hernias at Bugando Medical Centre in northwestern Tanzania: our experiences in a resource-limited setting 
BMC Research Notes  2012;5:585.
Inguinal hernia repair remains the commonest operation performed by general surgeons all over the world. There is paucity of published data on surgical management of inguinal hernias in our environment. This study is intended to describe our own experiences in the surgical management of inguinal hernias and compare our results with that reported in literature.
A descriptive prospective study was conducted at Bugando Medical Centre in northwestern Tanzania. Ethical approval to conduct the study was obtained from relevant authorities before the commencement of the study. Statistical data analysis was done using SPSS software version 17.0.
A total of 452 patients with inguinal hernias were enrolled in the study. The median age of patients was 36 years (range 3 months to 78 years). Males outnumbered females by a ratio of 36.7:1. This gender deference was statistically significant (P = 0.003). Most patients (44.7%) presented late (more than five years of onset of hernia). Inguinoscrotal hernia (66.8%) was the commonest presentation. At presentation, 208 (46.0%) patients had reducible hernia, 110 (24.3%) had irreducible hernia, 84 (18.6%) and 50(11.1%) patients had obstructed and strangulated hernias respectively. The majority of patients (53.1%) had right sided inguinal hernia with a right-to-left ratio of 2.1: 1. Ninety-two (20.4%) patients had bilateral inguinal hernias. 296 (65.5%) patients had indirect hernia, 102 (22.6%) had direct hernia and 54 (11.9%) had both indirect and direct types (pantaloon hernia). All patients in this study underwent open herniorrhaphy. The majority of patients (61.5%) underwent elective herniorrhaphy under spinal anaesthesia (69.2%). Local anaesthesia was used in only 1.1% of cases. Bowel resection was required in 15.9% of patients. Modified Bassini’s repair (79.9%) was the most common technique of posterior wall repair of the inguinal canal. Lichtenstein mesh repair was used in only one (0.2%) patient. Complication rate was 12.4% and it was significantly higher in emergency herniorrhaphy than in elective herniorrhaphy (P = 0.002). The median length of hospital stay was 8 days and it was significantly longer in patients with advanced age, delayed admission, concomitant medical illness, high ASA class, the need for bowel resection and in those with surgical repair performed under general anesthesia (P < 0.001). Mortality rate was 9.7%. Longer duration of symptoms, late hospitalization, coexisting disease, high ASA class, delayed operation, the need for bowel resection and presence of complications were found to be predictors of mortality (P < 0.001).
Inguinal hernias continue to be a source of morbidity and mortality in our centre. Early presentation and elective repair of inguinal hernias is pivotal in order to eliminate the morbidity and mortality associated with this very common problem.
PMCID: PMC3526506  PMID: 23098556
Inguinal hernias; Surgical management; Treatment outcome; Predictors of outcome; Tanzania
5.  A Fibreoptic endoscopic study of upper gastrointestinal bleeding at Bugando Medical Centre in northwestern Tanzania: A retrospective review of 240 cases 
BMC Research Notes  2012;5:200.
Upper gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding is recognized as a common and potentially life-threatening abdominal emergency that needs a prompt assessment and aggressive emergency treatment. A retrospective study was undertaken at Bugando Medical Centre in northwestern Tanzania between March 2010 and September 2011 to describe our own experiences with fibreoptic upper GI endoscopy in the management of patients with upper gastrointestinal bleeding in our setting and compare our results with those from other centers in the world.
A total of 240 patients representing 18.7% of all patients (i.e. 1292) who had fibreoptic upper GI endoscopy during the study period were studied. Males outnumbered female by a ratio of 2.1:1. Their median age was 37 years and most of patients (60.0%) were aged 40 years and below. The vast majority of the patients (80.4%) presented with haematemesis alone followed by malaena alone in 9.2% of cases. The use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, alcohol and smoking prior to the onset of bleeding was recorded in 7.9%, 51.7% and 38.3% of cases respectively. Previous history of peptic ulcer disease was reported in 22(9.2%) patients. Nine (3.8%) patients were HIV positive. The source of bleeding was accurately identified in 97.7% of patients. Diagnostic accuracy was greater within the first 24 h of the bleeding onset, and in the presence of haematemesis. Oesophageal varices were the most frequent cause of upper GI bleeding (51.3%) followed by peptic ulcers in 25.0% of cases. The majority of patients (60.8%) were treated conservatively. Endoscopic and surgical treatments were performed in 30.8% and 5.8% of cases respectively. 140 (58.3%) patients received blood transfusion. The median length of hospitalization was 8 days and it was significantly longer in patients who underwent surgical treatment and those with higher Rockall scores (P < 0.001). Rebleeding was reported in 3.3% of the patients. The overall mortality rate of 11.7% was significantly higher in patients with variceal bleeding, shock, hepatic decompensation, HIV infection, comorbidities, malignancy, age > 60 years and in patients with higher Rockall scores and those who underwent surgery (P < 0.001).
Oesophageal varices are the commonest cause of upper gastrointestinal bleeding in our environment and it is associated with high morbidity and mortality. The diagnostic accuracy of fibreoptic endoscopy was related to the time interval between the onset of bleeding and endoscopy. Therefore, it is recommended that early endoscopy should be performed within 24 h of the onset of bleeding.
PMCID: PMC3392734  PMID: 22537571
Fibreoptic endoscopy; Upper gastrointestinal bleeding; Aetiological spectrum; Clinical profile; Management; Clinical outcome; Tanzania
6.  Splenic injuries at Bugando Medical Centre in northwestern Tanzania: a tertiary hospital experience 
BMC Research Notes  2012;5:59.
Splenic injuries constitute a continuing diagnostic and therapeutic challenge to the trauma or general surgeons practicing in developing countries where sophisticated imaging facilities are either not available or exorbitantly expensive. The purpose of this review was to describe our own experience in the management of the splenic injuries outlining the aetiological spectrum, injury characteristics and treatment outcome of splenic injuries in our local environment and to identify predictors of outcome among these patients.
A prospective descriptive study of splenic injury patients was carried out at Bugando Medical Centre in Northwestern Tanzania between March 2009 and February 2011. Statistical data analysis was done using SPSS software version 17.0.
A total of 118 patients were studied. The male to female ratio was 6.4:1. Their ages ranged from 8 to 74 years with a median age of 22 years. The modal age group was 21-30 years. The majority of patients (89.8%) had blunt trauma and road traffic accidents (63.6%) were the most frequent cause of injuries. Most patients sustained grade III (39.0%) and IV (38.1%) splenic injuries. Majority of patients (86.4%) were treated operatively with splenectomy (97.1%) being the most frequently performed procedure. Postoperative complications were recorded in 30.5% of cases. The overall length of hospital stay (LOS) ranged from 1 day to 120 days with a median of 18 days. Mortality rate was 19.5%. Patients who had severe trauma (Kampala Trauma Score II ≤ 6) and those with associated injuries stayed longer in the hospital (P < 0.001), whereas age of the patient, associated injuries, trauma scores (KTS II), grade of splenic injuries, admission systolic blood pressure ≤ 90 mmHg, estimated blood loss > 2000 mls, HIV infection with CD4 ≤ 200 cells/μl and presence of postoperative complications were significantly associated with mortality (P < 0.001).
Trauma resulting from road traffic accidents (RTAs) remains the most common cause of splenic injuries in our setting. Most of the splenic injuries were Grade III & IV and splenectomy was performed in majority of the cases. Non-operative management can be adopted in patients with blunt isolated and low grade splenic injuries but operative management is still indispensable in this part of Tanzania. Urgent preventive measures targeting at reducing the occurrence of RTAs is necessary to reduce the incidence of splenic injuries in our centre.
PMCID: PMC3274421  PMID: 22269803
Splenic injuries; Aetiological spectrum; Injury characteristics; Treatment outcome; Predictors of outcome; Tanzania
7.  Ultrasound Guided Needle Aspiration versus Surgical Drainage in the management of breast abscesses: a Ugandan experience 
BMC Research Notes  2012;5:12.
Despite breast abscess becoming less common in developed countries, it has remained one of the leading causes of morbidity in women in developing countries. A randomized controlled trial was conducted at Mulago hospital complex in Kampala Uganda to establish whether ultrasound guided needle aspiration is a feasible alternative treatment option for breast abscesses.
A total of 65 females with breast abscess were analyzed, of these 33 patients were randomized into the ultrasound guided needle aspiration and 32 patients in the Incision and drainage arm. The mean age was 23.12, most of them were lactating (66.2%), primipararous (44.6%) with peripheral abscesses (73.8%) located in the upper lateral quadrant (56%).The mean breast size was 3.49 cm. The two groups were comparably in demographic characteristic and breast abscess size. Survival analysis showed no difference in breast abscess healing rate between the two groups (Log rank 0.24 df 1 and P = 0.63). Incision and drainage was found to be more costly than ultrasound guided aspiration (cost effective ratio of 2.85).
Ultrasound guided needle aspiration is therefore a feasible and cost effective treatment option for both lactating and non lactating breast abscesses with a diameter up to 5 cm by ultrasound in an immune competent patient
PMCID: PMC3284878  PMID: 22226127
Breast abscess; Ultrasound guided needle aspiration; Surgical drainage; Uganda
8.  Pattern of childhood burn injuries and their management outcome at Bugando Medical Centre in Northwestern Tanzania 
BMC Research Notes  2011;4:485.
Burn injuries constitute a major public health problem and are the leading cause of childhood morbidity and mortality worldwide. There is paucity of published data on childhood burn injuries in Tanzania, particularly the study area. This study was conducted to describe the pattern of childhood burn injuries in our local setting and to evaluate their management outcome.
A cross sectional study was conducted at Bugando Medical Centre (in Northwestern Tanzania) over a 3-year period from January 2008 to December 2010. Data was collected using a pre-tested coded questionnaire and statistical analyses performed using SPSS software version 15.0.
A total of 342 burned children were studied. Males were mainly affected. Children aged = 2 were the majority accounting for 45.9% of cases. Intentional burn injuries due to child abuse were reported in 2.9% of cases. Scald was the most common type of burns (56.1%). The trunk was the most commonly involved body region (57.3%). Majority of patients (48.0%) sustained superficial burns. Eight (2.3%) patients were HIV positive. Most patients (89.8%) presented to the hospital later than 24 h. The rate of burn wound infection on admission and on 10th day were 32.4% and 39.8% respectively.Staphylococcus aureus were more common on admission wound swabs, with Pseudomonas aeruginosa becoming more evident after 10th day. MRSA was detected in 19.2% of Staphylococcus aureus. Conservative treatment was performed in 87.1% of cases. Surgical treatment mainly skin grafting (65.9%) was performed in 44 (12.9%) of patients. The overall average of the length of hospital stay (LOS) was 22.12 ± 16.62 days. Mortality rate was 11.7%. Using multivariate logistic regression analysis; age of the patient, type of burn, delayed presentation, clothing ignition, %TBSA and severity of burn were found to be significantly associated with LOS (P < 0.001), whereas mortality rate was found to be independently and significantly related to the age of the patient, type of burn, HIV positive with stigmata of AIDS, CD4 count, inhalation injury, %TBSA and severity of burn (P < 0.001).
Childhood burn injuries still remain a menace in our environment with virtually unacceptable high morbidity and mortality. There is need for critical appraisal of the preventive measures and management principles currently being practiced.
PMCID: PMC3270007  PMID: 22070934
Childhood burn injuries; Patterns; Management outcome; Tanzania
9.  Surgical management of Diabetic foot ulcers: A Tanzanian university teaching hospital experience 
BMC Research Notes  2011;4:365.
Diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs) pose a therapeutic challenge to surgeons, especially in developing countries where health care resources are limited and the vast majority of patients present to health facilities late with advanced foot ulcers. A prospective descriptive study was done at Bugando Medical Centre from February 2008 to January 2010 to describe our experience in the surgical management of DFUs in our local environment and compare with what is known in the literature.
Of the total 4238 diabetic patients seen at BMC during the period under study, 136 (3.2%) patients had DFUs. Males outnumbered females by the ratio of 1.2:1. Their mean age was 54.32 years (ranged 21-72years). Thirty-eight (27.9%) patients were newly diagnosed diabetic patients. The majority of patients (95.5%) had type 2 diabetes mellitus. The mean duration of diabetes was 8.2 years while the duration of DFUs was 18.34 weeks. Fourteen (10.3%) patients had previous history of foot ulcers and six (4.4%) patients had previous amputations. The forefoot was commonly affected in 60.3% of cases. Neuropathic ulcers were the most common type of DFUs in 57.4% of cases. Wagner's stage 4 and 5 ulcers were the most prevalent at 29.4% and 23.5% respectively. The majority of patients (72.1%) were treated surgically. Lower limb amputation was the most common surgical procedure performed in 56.7% of cases. The complication rate was (33.5%) and surgical site infection was the most common complication (18.8%). Bacterial profile revealed polymicrobial pattern and Staphylococcus aureus was the most frequent microorganism isolated. All the microorganisms isolated showed high resistance to commonly used antibiotics except for Meropenem and imipenem, which were 100% sensitive each respectively. The mean hospital stay was 36.24 ± 12.62 days (ranged 18-128 days). Mortality rate was 13.2%.
Diabetic foot ulceration constitutes a major source of morbidity and mortality among patients with diabetes mellitus at Bugando Medical Centre and is the leading cause of non-traumatic lower limb amputation. A multidisciplinary team approach targeting at good glycaemic control, education on foot care and appropriate footware, control of infection and early surgical intervention is required in order to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with DFUs. Due to polymicrobial infection and antibiotic resistance, surgical intervention must be concerned.
PMCID: PMC3189128  PMID: 21943342
Diabetic foot ulcers; prevalence; pattern; surgical management; Tanzania
10.  Etiological spectrum and treatment outcome of Obstructive jaundice at a University teaching Hospital in northwestern Tanzania: A diagnostic and therapeutic challenges 
BMC Research Notes  2011;4:147.
Obstructive jaundice poses diagnostic and therapeutic challenges to general surgeons practicing in resource-limited countries. This study was undertaken to highlight the etiological spectrum, treatment outcome of obstructive jaundice in our setting and to identify prognostic factors for morbidity and mortality.
This was a descriptive prospective study which was conducted at Bugando Medical Centre between July 2006 and June 2010. All patients with a clinical diagnosis of obstructive jaundice were, after informed consent for the study, consecutively enrolled into the study. Data were collected using a pre-tested structured questionnaire and analyzed using SPSS computer software version 11.5.
A total of 116 patients were studied. Females outnumbered males by a ratio of 1.3:1. Patients with malignant obstructive jaundice were older than those of benign type. Ca head of pancreas was the commonest malignant cause of jaundice where as choledocholithiasis was the commonest benign cause. Abdominal ultrasound was the only diagnostic imaging done in all patients and revealed dilated intra and extra-hepatic ducts, common bile stones and abdominal masses in 56.2%, 78.9%, 58.1% and 72.4% of the cases respectively. A total of 110 (94.8%) patients underwent surgical treatment and the remaining 6 (5.2%) patients were unfit for surgery. The complication rate was 22.4% mainly surgical site infections. The mean hospital stay and mortality rate were 14.54 days and 15.5% respectively. A low haematocrit and presence of postoperative sepsis were the main predictors of the hospital stay (P < 0.001), whereas age > 60 years, prolonged duration of jaundice, malignant causes and presence of postoperative complications mainly sepsis significantly predicted mortality (P < 0.001).
Obstructive jaundice in our setting is more prevalent in females and the cause is mostly malignant. The result of this study suggests that early diagnosis and treatment plays an important role in the prognosis of patients with obstructive jaundice.
PMCID: PMC3113958  PMID: 21605428
Obstructive jaundice; etiological spectrum; treatment outcome; prognostic factors; Tanzania

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