Predictors of Poor Postoperative Outcomes in Pediatric Surgery Patients in Rural Ghana

Sarah Peiffer*, Anna E. Ssentongo, Laura Keeney, Forster Amponsah-Manu, Richard Yeboako, Richard Ofosu-Akromah, Temitope Ebenezer Arkorful, Eric Agyemang, Anthony Tsai, John Oh, Paddy Ssentongo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background/Purpose: Perioperative complications cause significant pediatric morbidity and mortality in low- and lower middle -income countries. This study investigates factors associated with prolonged length of stay, 90-day readmission and in-hospital mortality among pediatric patients at Eastern Regional Hospital (ERH) in Ghana. Methods: This is a retrospective review of perioperative morbidity and mortality in children < 18 years at ERH in Koforidua, Ghana. All pediatric surgeries performed between January 2015 and December 2017 were included in this study. Univariate analysis was performed using Pearson's chi-square tests or Fisher's exact tests. Variables that were significant on univariate analysis were included in multivariable logistic regression models adjusted for age and gender. Results: We analyzed 468 patients < 18 years of age with a median length of stay (LOS) of 3 days. The 90-day readmission and in-hospital mortality rates were 138 and 17 per 1000 patients, respectively. The most common procedures were herniorrhaphy (19 %) and appendectomy (15 %). Gastrointestinal surgery, surgical trauma, surgical infection and lack of insurance were significantly associated with prolonged LOS. Young age and female gender were significantly associated with in-hospital mortality. Malaria was significantly associated with 90-day readmission. Conclusions: Malaria infection is a significant risk factor for readmission, which should be investigated and treated in pediatric surgical patients in rural Ghana. Ensuring that all patients have insurance may result in shorter hospital stays. Provision of laparoscopic equipment may reduce hospital stays for patients undergoing gastrointestinal surgery. Expansion of the surgical work force, particularly pediatric surgeons, could improve perioperative survival in the very young population. Level of Evidence: Retrospective comparative study.

Original languageEnglish
Article number211
JournalBMC Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - 22 Sep 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Africa
  • Global health
  • Morbidity
  • Mortality
  • Outcomes
  • Pediatric surgery


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