Prevalence of and characteristics associated with in-hospital mortality in a Ugandan neurology ward

Monica M. Diaz, Xin Hu, Brenda T. Fenton, Ivan Kimuli, Allison Lee, Hayley Lindsey, Jeffrey K. Bigelow, Samuel Maiser, Hamada H. Altalib, Jason J. Sico

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Background: While the burden of neurologic illness in developing countries is increasing, less is known about mortality among patients admitted to sub-Saharan African hospitals with neurologic disease. We sought to characterize the rate and patient-level predictors of in-hospital mortality in a Ugandan Neurology Methods: Data was prospectively collected on 335 patients admitted to the Neurology ward of Mulago Hospital, Kampala, Uganda. Kaplan-Meier survival curves and multivariate COX proportional hazard modeling were used to assess survival. Results: Within our sample (n = 307), 35.8% received no diagnosis at time of hospital admission. Stroke (27.3%), head trauma (19.6%), and malaria (16.0%) were the most common diagnoses. Among the 56 (18.5%) patients who died during the index hospitalization, the most common diagnosis at admission and at death was stroke. Adjusted regression analysis showed that patients without a diagnosis at time of death (HR = 7.01 [2.42-20.35], p <.001) and those with diagnoses of infections (HR = 5.21 [2.16-12.58], p = <.001), stroke (HR = 2.69 [1.20-6.04], p =.017), or head trauma (HR = 3.39, [1.27-9.07], p = 0.15) had worse survival. Conclusions: In-hospital mortality affected nearly 20% of the cohort, with worse survival among those without a diagnosis and with infections, stroke, head trauma. Future work should identify reasons for increased mortality among these high-risk groups and implement targeted interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number42
JournalBMC Neurology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 31 Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Global neurology
  • Head trauma
  • Neurological illness
  • Neurological infections
  • Stroke
  • Uganda


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