Injection-induced sciatic nerve injury in Nigerian children
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Objectives: A retrospective study of all children with a diagnosis of sciatic nerve injury managed at the University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria over a 12 year period was carried out in order to determine predisposing factors to the nerve injury and highlighting practical preventive measures. Design: The necessary data was collected from the case files of children seen at the hospital with a diagnosis of sciatic nerve injury, from 1988 to 1999. Results: There were 27 children aged five months to 12 years with a diagnosis of sciatic nerve injury. Twenty (74%) of the children were aged five years or less. While seven patients (26%) presented within two weeks of development of foot drop consequent on intramuscular (IM) injection given on the buttock, 20 patients (74%) presented much later. Fever was the most common complaint for which the injection had been given. The identity of the drugs given was not known in 10 patients. In the remaining 17 patients drugs administered were specified and included Chloroquine,Novalgin, Paraldehyde, Procaine penicillin, and Sulfadoxine- Pyrimethamine. Most of the patients had received the injections in privately owned medical facilities where staff with minimal training are often allowed to administer IM injections. Conclusion: It is suggested that the IM route for injection be strongly discouraged when a drug can be given by other routes. Only trained staff should be allowed to administer IM injections. Giving IM injections at sites other than the buttock maybe advantageous in children particularly those aged five years and below.