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Laparotomy in Children in a Tertiary Hospital in a Developing Country: Indications, Complications and Outcome


Chukwubuike Kevin Emeka

Pediatric Surgery Unit, Department of Surgery, Enugu State University Teaching Hospital, Enugu, Nigeria.

Correspondence to Author: Chukwubuike Kevin Emeka


Background: Pediatric laparotomy is important surgical procedure necessary for the diagnosis and treatment of abdominal surgical conditions in children. The objective of this study was to evaluate our experience on pediatric laparotomy in terms of indications, complications and outcome.

Methodology: This was a retrospective study of children aged 15 years and younger who had laparotomy (for various indications) between January 2017 and December 2018 at the pediatric surgery unit of Enugu State University Teaching Hospital (ESUTH) Enugu, Nigeria.

Results: A total of 202 pediatric laparotomies were performed during the study period. There was male predominance and the median age of the patients was 5 years. Majority of the patients were infants and most of the laparotomies were performed as emergency surgeries. The mean duration of hospital stay of the patients was 10 days and abdominal pain was the most common symptom. At presentation, one-half and one-quarter of the patients had low hemoglobin and electrolyte derangement respectively. Abdominal ultrasound and x rays were diagnostic in about 50% of the patients. Intussusception was the most common indication for laparotomy and surgical site infection was the most common post-operative complication. Eleven (5.4%) patients expired.

Conclusion: Laparotomy in children can be lifesaving and infants with intussusception were the largest group of patients in the current series. Abdominal pain, anemia and electrolyte derangement were the common indices at presentation. Pediatric laparotomy can be associated with morbidity and mortality.


Children, complications, developing country, indications, outcome


Chukwubuike Kevin Emeka. Laparotomy in Children in a Tertiary Hospital in a Developing Country: Indications, Complications and Outcome. World Journal of Clinical Surgery 2021.

Journal Info

  • Journal Name: World Journal of Clinical Surgery
  • Impact Factor: 2.709**
  • ISSN: 2766-6182
  • DOI: 10.52338/wjsurgy
  • Short Name: WJCSR
  • Acceptance rate: 55%
  • Volume: 6 (2024)
  • Submission to acceptance: 25 days
  • Acceptance to publication: 10 days


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