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01.12.2016 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2016 Open Access

BMC Surgery 1/2016

Prevalence, causes and management outcome of intestinal obstruction in Adama Hospital, Ethiopia

BMC Surgery > Ausgabe 1/2016
Urgessa Soressa, Abebe Mamo, Desta Hiko, Netsanet Fentahun



In Africa, acute intestinal obstruction accounts for a great proportion of morbidity and mortality. Ethiopia is one of the countries where intestinal obstruction is a major cause of morbidity and mortality. This study aims to determine prevalence, causes and management outcome of intestinal obstruction in Adama Hospital in Oromia region, Ethiopia.


A hospital based cross-sectional study design was used. Data covering the past three years were collected from hospital medical records of sampled patients. The collected data were checked for any inconsistency, coded and entered into SPSS version 16.0 for data processing and analysis. Descriptive and logistic regression analyses were used. Statistical significance was based on confidence interval (CI) of 95 % at a p-value of < 0.05.


262 patients were admitted with intestinal obstruction. The prevalence of intestinal obstruction was 21.8 % and 4.8 % among patients admitted for acute abdomen surgery and total surgical admissions, respectively. The mortality rate was 2.5 % (6 of 262). The most common cause of small bowel obstruction was intussusceptions in 48 patients (30.9 %), followed by small bowel volvulus in 47 patients (30.3 %). Large bowel obstruction was caused by sigmoid volvulus in 60 patients (69.0 %) followed by colonic tumor in 12 patients (13.8 %). After controlling for possible confounding factors, the major predictors of management outcome of intestinal obstruction were: duration of illness before surgical intervention (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 0.49, 95 % CI: 0.25–0.97); intra-operative findings [Viable small bowel volvulus (SBV) (AOR = 0.08, 95 % CI: 0.01–0.95) and viable (AOR = 0.17, 95 % CI: 0.03–0.88)]; completion of intra-operative procedures (bowel resection & anastomosis (AOR = 3.05, 95 % CI: 1.04–8.94); and length of hospital stay (AOR = 0.05, 95 % CI: 0.01–0.16).


Small bowel obstruction was more prevalent than large bowel obstruction. Intussusceptions and sigmoid volvulus were the leading causes of small and large bowel obstruction. Laparotomy was the most common methods of intestinal obstruction management. Bowel resection and anastomosis was the commonest intra-operative procedure done and is associated with postoperative complications. Wound infection in the affected area should be improved because it is the most common postoperative complication. This can be decreased by appropriate surgical technique and wound care with sterile techniques.
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