THE MAGNITUDE AND CLINICAL PROFILE OF GALLSTONE DISEASE IN AYDER REFERRAL HOSPITAL, MEKELLE, ETHIOPIA: A CROSS-SECTIONAL DESCRIPTIVE STUDY
Background: Gallstone disease constitutes a significant health problem in developed countries. While it was thought to be uncommon in Africa, it currently seems that the disease is more frequently seen than expected. The magnitude of gallstone disease is not well studied in Ethiopia. The purpose of this study is to determine the magnitude of the problem as seen in Ayder Referral Hospital in Mekelle.
Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted during the period January 1, 2010 - December 31, 2013 at the Department of Surgery, Ayder Referral Hospital in Mekelle, Ethiopia. Data was obtained from chart records using a pretested structured questionnaire developed for the purposes of the study.
Results: A total of 225 patients were included in the study. The age group 30-49 years comprised one-half of the patients and over two-thirds (71.6%) of the patients were female. Abdominal pain was the predominant complaint, including right upper quadrant pain (74.7%), epigastric pain (20%), and left upper quadrant pain (4.9%). About one-third (34.7%) had radiation of the pain to the back and 15.6% to the shoulders. Fatty meal was identified as an exacerbating factor in 62.2% of the patients. One hundred and eighty-four patients were operated on; laparoscopy was done in 30.2%, and open cholecystectomy in 51.6%. Only two patients had a complicated immediate post-operative course.
Conclusion: This hospital based study result suggests that gallstone disease is not uncommon in the northern part of Ethiopia. The pattern and clinical profile of the disease is not different from what has been reported from other parts of Ethiopia and the rest of Africa. Well-designed epidemiological studies are required to determine the risk factors, the types of stones, the diagnostic value of radiological examination and the efficacy of laparoscopic management of gallstone disease.
Key words: Gallstone disease; Magnitude, Ethiopia
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