Background: Penetrating abdominal injury occurs when a foreign object pierces the skin. The morbidity and mortality associated with penetrating abdominal trauma is related to the intra-abdominal complications. This study is, therefore, intended to determine the abscess rate resulting from penetrating abdominal trauma in Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital Zaria. Method: A 6-year (January 2006-December 2011) retrospective study of penetrating abdominal trauma emphasizing on the rate of development of intra-abdominal abscess. Information was obtained from patients’ case notes, operating room log books and surgical audit data. Information extracted included cases of penetrating abdominal trauma, intra-operative findings and cases of intra-abdominal abscesses. Results: A total of 39 cases of penetrating abdominal trauma were treated within this period of six years. 3 (7.7%) were treated in 2006, 6 (15.4%) in 2007, 3 (7.7%) in 2008 and 11 (28.2%) in 2009, 8 (20.5%) in 2010, 9 (23.1%) in 2011. 26 (66.7%) were adult while 13 (33.3%) were paediatric cases. The male were 37 (94.9%) and the female were 2 (5.1%), with a sex ratio of 18.5:1 (male to female). The age range was 5 -60 years (39.92 mean). The commonest cause of injury was road traffic accident. At exploration, 13 (33.3%) had organ injury only, 17 (43.6%) suffer from both organ injury and intra-peritoneal emorrhage, 9 (23.1%) had retroperitoneal haemorrhage only. The intra-abdominal abscess rate of penetrating abdominal injury in Zaria was found to be 2.6%. Conclusion: Contamination from either foreign object or organ injury is found to increase the risk of post-operative intra-abdominal abscess. In this center, the abscess rate of penetrating abdominal trauma is comparatively low.
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