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ARTICLE
Year : 2001  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 22-25

Spinal tuberculosis: A 15 year review at OAUTHC Ile-Ife


I. C. lkem Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology, Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospitals Complex, P.O. Box 547, Ile-Ife, Nigeria

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I C Ikem
I. C. lkem Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology, Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospitals Complex, P.O. Box 547, Ile-Ife
Nigeria
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A review of the hospital records over 15 years was made. The objective of the study was to describe the clinical presentation, management and outcome of spinal tuberculosis. Thirty-four patients were studied. There were 15(44.16%) males and 19 (55. 9%) females. Their age range was 2-80 years with mean (+/- SD) of 25.28 +/- 22.33 years. The occupations most commonly affected are Students (44.1%), Pre-school Children (17.6%) and Traders (14.7%). Back pain (100%), weight loss (47.1%), paraparesis (47.1%), kyphotic spinal deformity (32.4%) and night sweats (29.4%) were common features. Only 26.5% patients had active pulmonary tuberculosis. All the vertebral segments were involved. The Lumbar spine was the most involved vertebral segment in 50% patients. Using the Westergren method the mean (+/- SD) Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR) mm/hour at the initial diagnosis was 83.58 +/- 31.11 mm/hour whereas three months after the commencement of antituberculosis chemotherapy it was 30.06 +/- 11.96 mm/hour. All the patients were given multiple antituberculosis drugs therapy and spinal traction. Spinal support was offered when the patients became ambulant. At the end of two years follow-up, 94.1% patients were alive, while 5.9% patients died during the course of treatment due to overwhelming sepsis. Among the patients that were alive, 14.7% still had persistence of their neurological deficit ie. paraparesis. Ten percent of the patients were mobilised on crutches while 5.96% were confined to wheelchair. This study shows that in tuberculosis endemic areas, symptom of back pain especially in the younger age group should be thoroughly investigated as this group constituted the largest affected population.


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