Harding Goldson, Hyacinth E.; Hanna, Wadia J.
Author Affiliation, Ana.
Surgery, Radiology, Anaesthesia and Intensive Care
Tetanus: A recurring intensive care problem.
Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Date of Publication
A fifteen-year retrospective study of 108 cases of tetanus admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the University Hospital of the West Indies is presented. Males predominated (70%), with peak incidence occurring amongst the young and the elderly. In 57% the disease was severe enough to require neuromuscular blockade and controlled ventilation. Respiratory complications occurred most commonly (80%), predominantly as a result of infection. Dysautonomia, exhibited by 55% of patients, presented the greatest difficulty in management. Mortality was high (20%), with sudden cardiac arrest being the most common cause of death. The average duration of stay in the ICU was long (27 days). As Jamaica is a Third World country with limited resources, the continued occurrence of this preventable disease represents a drain on existing intensive care funds. This must be brought to the attention of institutions responsible for planning health care programmes for developing countries.....