|dc.description.abstract||In developed countries, general trauma, which includes chest injuries, is the main cause
of death in children and young adults under 40 years of age (5). In sub-Saharan Africa,
general trauma is the third commonest cause of mortality and morbidity (7, 8). Socioeconomic
and health implications of chest injuries are broad and require some
intervention (7). The desire to provide statistical data regarding the incidence and causes
of chest injuries motivated me to do this study. I hope that the findings of this study will
provide a guidance in improving patient management strategies at KNH, the National
Referral Hospital and hence Kenya at large.
Between December 2007 and April 2008, 245 patients with chest trauma were studied
using a structured questionnaire. Out of these, 185 were males and 60 were females.
Though there was a wide age distribution from 9months to 80 years, the bulk of these
patients were in the 21-30 year age bracket. This age group is the most mobile, physically
active, and thus more likely to be involved in traumatic incidences than any other group.
Road traffic accidents constituted the single most common cause of chest injuries. It
emerged from this study that today it is still the commonest cause followed by assaults
falls, sport injuries and suicidal attempts.
Rib fractures, pneumothorax, haemothorax, myocardial and diaphragmatic injuries were
recorded. In a small minority of patients, there were associated injuries in other parts of
the body such as spine, pelvis, limbs, head and neck. In most of the patients, chest
radiograph was sufficient in diagnosing most chest injuries. Very few patients required
other imaging modalities like ultrasound and CT scans to confirm and further evaluate
Department of Psychiatry, University of Nairobi, ; bDepartment of Mental Health, School of Medicine,
Moi University, Eldoret, Kenya||