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Epidemiology of traumatic injuries presenting to an ED in Central Haiti: a retrospective cohort study
  1. Shada A Rouhani1,2,3,4,
  2. Henry Claude Eliacin5,6,
  3. Marie Cassandre Edmond3,6,
  4. Keegan A Checkett3,4,7,
  5. Linda Rimpel3,6,
  6. Regan H Marsh1,2,4
  1. 1 Department of Emergency Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  2. 2 Department of Emergency Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  3. 3 Emergency Department, Hôpital Universitaire de Mirebalais, Mirebalais, Haiti
  4. 4 Partners In Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  5. 5 Department of Surgery, Hôpital Universitaire de Mirebalais, Mirebalais, Haiti
  6. 6 Zanmi Lasante, Port-au-Prince, Haiti
  7. 7 Section of Emergency Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Shada A Rouhani, Department of Emergency Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA; shada.rouhani{at}


Background In Haiti, like many low-income countries, traumatic injuries are leading causes of morbidity and mortality. Yet, little is known about the epidemiology of traumatic injuries in Haitian EDs. Improved understanding of injury patterns is necessary to strengthen emergency services and improve emergency provider education.

Methods This was a retrospective cohort study of trauma patients at an academic hospital in central Haiti over 6 months. Visits were identified from the electronic medical record, and paper charts were manually reviewed. Data, including demographics, timing of presentation, injuries sustained, treatments received and ED disposition were extracted using a standardised form and later analysed in SAS V.9.3.

Results Of 1401 patients, 66% were male, and the average age was 26.8 years. Most visits were due to road traffic injuries (RTIs; 48%) followed by falls (22%). Trauma mechanism varied significantly by age (p<0.001): falls predominated in children under 5 years (56%) versus RTIs for adults (59%). Only 14% of patients injured on motorcycles used helmets and 30% of those injured in motor vehicles used seatbelts. Only 18% of patients arrived within 1 hour of the trauma. Skin or soft tissue injuries were the most common (58%), followed by extremity or pelvic fractures or dislocations (23%). Most patients (81%) were discharged, 14% were admitted or stayed over 24 hours in the ED and 0.8% died in the ED. Of the admitted patients, 61% had surgery, 79% of which were orthopaedic. Patients using helmets or seatbelts were more likely to be discharged than those not using protective equipment (p=0.008).

Conclusions In this trauma population, RTIs and falls were the most common trauma mechanisms, safety feature use was rare, and most injuries were musculoskeletal. Presentation was delayed and mortality was low, but many patients required surgery. These findings have significant clinical, public health, operational and training implications.

  • trauma
  • global health
  • epidemiology

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  • Contributors SAR, HCE, MCE and RHM contributed to study design and data collection. SAR did the data analysis. All authors contributed to data interpretation and manuscript preparation. All authors have reviewed and approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding This research was supported by an internal seed grant from the Department of Emergency Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

  • Disclaimer Funders were not involved in study design, data collection, data analysis, data interpretation, manuscript preparation or the decision to submit the manuscript for publication.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Presented at A portion of this data was presented at the 2015 American College of Emergency Physicians Scientific Assembly

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