Pattern of corrosive ingestion injuries in Port Harcourt: A ten year review

Lucky Onotai, Augustine Nwogbo


Background: Corrosive substance ingestion is a Global health concern as it results in varied damage to the digestive tract, ranging from minor injury to strictures, and sometimes even death. In the developing world the morbidity of corrosive ingestion particularly corrosive esophageal burns remains a significant but overlooked problem. The objective of this study is to determine the pattern of corrosive ingestion as seen in University of Port- Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) over a ten year period.

Methodology: This is a retrospective descriptive study of the patients who were admitted with a history of corrosive ingestion to the department of Ear, Nose and Throat (E.N.T) surgery of UPTH over a ten year period (March 2005 to March 2010). Demographic and clinical data was obtained from the clinical records of the subjects and analyzed.

Results: Thirty cases were seen over the study period. The age range of the patients was 2-47 years old with a mean of 23.9 ± 13.4 years. Among adults there was a high incidence in the third decade while in children there was a high incidence among the under-five. The most common type of corrosive ingested was caustic soda in 40% of cases. The commonest complication was esophageal stricture (40%). Fifty percent of cases were due to suicide attempt, while 9 (30%) cases were accidental ingestion of which all were children. The commonest clinical presentation was odynophagia (30%) while mortality accounted for 10% 0f cases.

Conclusion: Corrosive injury is still a major surgical emergency in our society which carries a major risk of several complications (mainly esophageal stricture). There is a need for preventive measures to avoid accidental ingestion especially in children.


Corrosive ingestion; Esophageal strictures

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ISSN: 1597-4292