Patterns of Elbow Fractures and Complications of Those Seen Late in Children Treated at KCMC in Northern Tanzania

M.E. Ngowi, R.Temu, G Maya, A. Mallya
Publication year: 

Background: Fractures around the elbow in children are common and difficult to diagnose radiographicaly .There is limited information on fracture patterns around the elbow in children from developing countries. This study aims to identify; fracture type around the elbow and misdiagnosed fractures by the referring doctor at peripheral health facility and complication on arrival at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC) tertiary hospital.

Methods: This cross sectional record reviewed every child with fracture around the elbow treated at KCMC as outpatient or inpatient during the period of January 2009 to December 2013. Files and their x-ray film were traced both the orthopedic surgeon and the radiologist discus the findings and were recorded.

Results: During the study period 366 cases were entered into the study. Males accounted for 263 (72.1%) of cases. Malunion was the commonest late complication reported clinically at the time of arrival at KCMC seen in (6.8%) patients. The commonest fractures were humerus supracondylar in (82.2%), followed by lateral condyle in (1.9%). Misdiagnosed fracture at peripheral health facility were; (5%) supracondylar followed by 3 olecranon and others.

Conclusion: Fractures around the elbow should be handed carefully in suspicious cases discussion between orthopedic surgeon and radiologist is valuable. Refresher course to the referring doctor from the district will help to improve diagnosis.