Pattern of Limb Amputation Among Rural Kenyan Children and Adolescents

Wandia NS, John K'ori, M OM, A O'o J. "Pattern of Limb Amputation Among Rural Kenyan Children and Adolescents." JPO Journal of Prosthetics & Orthotics. 2010;22(3):157-161.


The causes of limb amputation among children differ between and within countries. These data
are valuable in prevention and planning of rehabilitation strategies for the victims but are
scarcely reported. The aim of this study was to investigate the causes of amputation in children
and adolescents in rural Kenya. Records of patients aged 18 years and younger who underwent
major limb amputation in PCEA Kikuyu and Tenwek Hospitals between January 1998 and
December 2008 were analyzed retrospectively for cause and age. Data were analyzed by SPSS
(version 11.50). Only complete records for age and confirmed diagnosis were included. Eightyeight
of 290 (30.3%) amputation cases were in individuals aged 2 weeks to 18 years. Trauma was
the most common cause (42%), followed by congenital defects (29.5%), infection (12.5%), and
tumors (11.4%). Of the trauma cases, burns were the most common cause (27%), followed by
animal bites (18.9%), road traffic accidents (16.2%), and falls (13.5%). A total of 77.2% of the
patients presented after the age of 5 years. The male:female ratio was 2:1. These data imply that
more than 70% of amputations among rural Kenyan children result from preventable causes that
may be related to poor socioeconomic status. Improvement of living standards, formulation of
public health education, and planning for rehabilitation programs are recommended.

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