Development of an acute care surgery service in Rwanda

Egide Abahuje, Isaie Sibomana, Elisee Rwagahirima, Christian Urimubabo, Robert Munyaneza, Jennifer Rickard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background Acute care surgery (ACS) encompasses trauma, critical care, and emergency general surgery. Due to high volumes of emergency surgery, an ACS service was developed at a referral hospital in Rwanda. The aim of this study was to evaluate the epidemiology of ACS and understand the impact of an ACS service on patient outcomes. Methods This is a retrospective observational study of ACS patients before and after introduction of an ACS service. χ 2 test and Wilcoxon rank-sum test were used to describe the epidemiology and compare outcomes before (pre-ACS)) and after (post-ACS) implementation of the ACS service. Results Data were available for 120 patients before ACS and 102 patients after ACS. Diagnoses included: intestinal obstruction (n=80, 36%), trauma (n=38, 17%), appendicitis (n=31, 14%), and soft tissue infection (n=17, 8%) with no difference between groups. The most common operation was midline laparotomy (n=138, 62%) with no difference between groups (p=0.910). High American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) score (ASA ≥3) (11%vs. 40%, p<0.001) was more common after ACS. There was no difference in intensive care unit admission (8%vs. 8%, p=0.894), unplanned reoperation (22%vs. 13%, p=0.082), or mortality (10%vs. 11%, p=0.848). The median length of hospital stay was longer (11 days vs. 7 days, p<0.001) before ACS. Conclusions An ACS service can be implemented in a low-resource setting. In Rwanda, ACS patients are young with few comorbidities, but high rates of mortality and morbidity. In spite of more patients who are critically ill in the post-ACS period, implementation of an ACS service resulted in decreased length of hospital stay with no difference in morbidity and mortality. Level of evidence Prognostic and epidemiologic study type, level III.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere000332
JournalTrauma Surgery and Acute Care Open
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Author(s) (or their employer(s)). Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.


  • Rwanda
  • acute care surgery
  • emergency
  • global health

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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