Annals of African Medicine
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Year : 2009  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 115-121

Prognosis of non traumatic coma: The role of some socio-economic factors on its outcome in Ibadan, Nigeria

1 Department of Medicine, Neurology Unit, Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria, Nigeria
2 Department of Medicine, Neurology Unit, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria
3 Department of Nurse Education, Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
O R Obiako
Neurology unit, Department of Medicine, Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1596-3519.56240

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Background : Coma occurring in the course of an illness, irrespective of cause, traditionally implies a poor prognosis and many factors may determine its outcome. These factors must be identified and possibly stratified in their order of importance. This research seeks to identify these factors and how they influenced the outcome of non-traumatic coma in our environment. Methods : Two hundred consecutive patients, aged 18-79 years who met the inclusion criteria, the Glasgow coma scale (GCS) score of <8, history and physical findings suggestive of medical illness, no head trauma or sedation, were recruited into the study from August 2004 to March 2005 at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, after obtaining institutional ethical clearance and consent from patients' guardians. Detailed history of illness including the bio-data and time to present to the hospital and treatments given were noted. Thereafter, the clinical course of the patients was monitored daily for a maximum of 28 days during which the support of the family and/ or the hospital social welfare was evaluated. Results : During the 8-month period of the study, 76% (152) of the patients died while 24% (48) survived. The following factors were associated with high mortality rate: inability to confirm diagnosis (100%), poor family support (97.1%), delay in making a diagnosis within 24 h (85.4%), poor family understanding of disease (84.1%), need for intensive care admission and management (83.3%), poor hospital social welfare support (82.4%), presentation to UCH after 6 h of coma (76.7%), and referral from private health facilities (75.7%). Others include substance abuse (100%) and seropositivity to HIV (96%) and hepatitis B surface antigen (92%) antibodies, among others. Conclusion : This study has demonstrated that socio-economic factors such as gender, occupation, risky lifestyle behaviors, late presentation or referral to hospital, late diagnosis and treatment, and poor family support contributed to poor outcome of nontraumatic coma. It is hoped that improvement, modification, or correction of these factors may improve coma outcome.

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