Head and Neck Symptoms as Predictors of Outcome in Tetanus Patients
Objective: This study aims to investigate which, if any head and neck symptoms (trismus, dysphagia, alterations in speech or facial movements, and dyspnea) might be good predictors of outcomes (mortality, tracheostomy, discharged, decannulated) and prognosis of tetanus patients.
Design: Retrospective Cohort Study
Setting: Tertiary National University Hospital
Patients: Seventy-three (73) pediatric and adult patients diagnosed with tetanus and admitted at the emergency room of the Philippine General Hospital between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2017. Demographic characteristics, incubation periods, periods of onset, routes of entry, head and neck symptoms, stage, and outcomes were retrieved from medical records and analyzed.
Results: Of the 73 patients included, 53 (73%) were adults, while the remaining 20 (27%) were pediatric. The three most common head and neck symptoms were trismus (48; 66%), neck pain/ rigidity (35; 48%), and dysphagia to solids (31; 42%). Results of multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that only trismus (OR = 3.742, p = .015) and neck pain/ rigidity (OR = 4.135, p = .015) were significant predictors of decannulation. No dependent variable/symptoms had a significant effect in predicting discharge and mortality.
Conclusion: Clinically diagnosed tetanus can be easily recognized and immediately treated. Most of the early complaints are head and neck symptoms that can help in early diagnosis and treatment resulting in better prognosis. In particular, trismus and neck pain/rigidity may predict the outcome of decannulation after early tracheotomy, but not of discharge and mortality.
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