Background: The earthquake in Palu was a very tragic event that claimed many lives. Orthopaedic surgeons have a key role in identifying and managing earthquake victims related to musculoskeletal injuries. In this review, the authors present an epidemiology study of orthopaedic injuries among victims of the 2018 Palu earthquake in Indonesia admitted to a local hospital.
Methods: This was a retrospective study involving trauma patients admitted to a local hospital (SIS Al Jufrie Hospital) in 23 days following the earthquake on September 28, 2018.
Results: Of 137 trauma cases, 121 (88%) were orthopaedic in nature. Of these 121 cases, soft tissue injury (66.9%) and fractures (25.6%) were the most common orthopaedic injuries. The fractures included fractures of the tibia/ fibula (n=8), femur (n=8), ankle/foot (n=3), radius/ulnar (n=5), humerus (n=5), and hand (n=1). The most common procedure performed was debridement (n=13), followed by open reduction and internal fixation (n=10), closed reduction (cast and sling) (n=5), external fixation (n=1), and amputation (n=1). Of 30 fractures, 4 fractures were classified as open fractures.
Conclusions: Most of the trauma patients admitted to the local hospital in Palu following the Palu earthquake sustained orthopaedic injuries. The most common injury types are soft tissue injury and fracture, especially at the femur and tibia fibula. The most commonly performed orthopaedic procedure is debridement. The results of this study may help orthopedists and teams for planning and optimizing the treatment of earthquake victims in the future.