Background Dog-bite wounds are a common emergency department (ED) presentation, accounting for approximately 5% of traumatic wounds in the US. However, only 20-50% of patients actually present to the ED for medical attention following a dog-bite wound. Methods This was a transverse, retrospective audit of medical records of patients that had presented to the Tembisa Provincial Academic Hospital ED with dog-bite wounds during the 2014 calendar year. Results Of the 269 patients that were included in the study, 148 (55%) were male. The median age of all study patients was 27 years (range: 3-77 years). Most patients presented between 18h00-24h00 (n = 111, 41.3%). Most wounds were sustained on the lower limbs (n = 80, 68.18%), followed by the upper limbs (n = 74, 28.03%). Patients who were ≤12 years of age had a higher prevalence of buttock/perineum (p = 0.0002) and head/face/neck (p = 0.009) wounds, whereas patients who were >12 years of age had a higher prevalence of lower limb wounds (p = 0.0006). Only 15 (5.6%) wounds were sutured, and antibiotics were prescribed to 120 (45.1%) patients. Tetanus toxoid vaccine (TTV) and the first dose of the rabies vaccine (RV) were administered to 152 (57.4%) and 240 (89.1%) patients, respectively. Conclusion Children are more likely to present with wounds to the head/face/neck or buttock/perineum regions, while adults are more likely to present with wounds to the lower limbs. Proper strategies should be implemented to ensure that clinicians adhere to the current antibiotics protocols as well as rabies and tetanus post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP)-prescribing guidelines.
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