Indexed on: 10 Nov '15Published on: 10 Nov '15Published in: Prehospital and disaster medicine
More than 90% of traumatic morbidity and mortality occurs in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and lacks contemporary statistics on the epidemiology of traumatic injuries. This study aimed to characterize the burden of traumatic injuries among emergency department patients in the Northeast region of Haiti.Data were collected from the emergency departments of all public hospitals in the Northeast region of Haiti, which included the Fort Liberté, Ouanaminthe, and Trou du Nord sites. All patients presenting for emergent care of traumatic injuries were included. Data were obtained via review of emergency department registries and patient records from October 1, 2013 through November 30, 2013. Data on demographics, mechanisms of trauma, and anatomical regions of injury were gathered using a standardized tool and analyzed using descriptive statistics. Temporal analysis of injury frequency was explored using regression modeling.Data from 383 patient encounters were accrued. Ouanaminthe Hospital treated the majority of emergent injuries (59.3%), followed by Fort Liberté (30.3%) and Trou du Nord (10.4%). The median age in years was 23 with 23.1% of patients being less than 15 years of age. Road traffic accidents (RTAs) and interpersonal violence accounted for 65.8% and 30.1% of all traumatic mechanisms, respectively. Extremity trauma was the most frequently observed anatomical region of injury (38.9%), followed by head and neck (30.3%) and facial (19.1%) injuries. Trauma due to RTA resulted in a single injury (83.8%) to either an extremity or the head and neck regions most frequently. A minority of patients had medical record documentation (37.9%). Blood pressure, respiratory rate, and mental status were documented in 19.3%, 4.1%, and 0.0% of records, respectively. There were 6.3 injuries/day during the data collection period with no correlation between the frequency of emergent trauma cases and day of the week (R(^2)=0.01).Traumatic injuries are a common emergent presentation in the Northeast region of Haiti with characteristics similar to other LMIC. Documentation and associated data to adequately characterize the burden of disease in this region are lacking. Road traffic accidents are the predominate mechanism of injury, suggesting that interventions addressing prevention and treatment of this common occurrence may provide public health benefits in this setting.