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Typhoid perforation in children below 5 years: a 10-year review of cases managed and outcome



Typhoid perforation is still prevalent in children in developing countries. Hence, the need for a review of the morbidity and mortality from typhoid perforation in children from poor countries.


We review the clinical features, morbidity, and mortality of typhoid perforation in children aged ≤ 5 years in a developing country.


A retrospective 10-year study of children aged ≤ 5 years with typhoid perforation in two tertiary hospitals in northeastern Nigeria. Data regarding clinical presentation, investigations, intra-operative findings, treatment, and outcome were reviewed.


Out of 221 children aged ≤ 15 years with typhoid perforation, 45 (20.4%) were aged ≤ 5 years. Fever and abdominal distension were present in all 45 (100.0%), followed by abdominal pain 33 (73.3%), constipation 19 (42.2%), diarrhoea and vomiting 18 (40.0%) and vomiting 13 (28.8%). All patients presented in second week of infection. Plain abdominal radiograph showed pneumoperitoneum suggestive of bowel perforation in 39 (86.7%) patients. Forty-one (91.1%) patients had ileal perforations with various severities of peritonitis. Out of which, 30 (73.2%) were single and 11 (26.8%) were multiple perforations. Two (4.4%) patients had peritonitis without bowel perforation, while 2 (4.4%) others had caecal, gall bladder perforations, respectively. Serious post-operative wound complications occurred in patients with severe peritonitis, multiple perforations, prolonged pre-operative resuscitation, and operation beyond 2 h. Overall, mortality rate was about 26.7% mainly in patients who had multiple perforations, severe peritonitis, prolonged pre-operative resuscitation, and operation time more than 2 h.


Multiple perforations, severe peritonitis, and operation time more than 2 h are poor post-operative factors that were associated with poor post-operative outcome in our patients.

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Correspondence to Samuel Wabada.

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Wabada, S., Oyinloye, A.O., Usman, B. et al. Typhoid perforation in children below 5 years: a 10-year review of cases managed and outcome. Pediatr Surg Int (2021).

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  • Multiple perforations
  • Operation time
  • Severe peritonitis
  • Operation time