Pattern of childhood acute leukemia presentation at a tertiary hospital in Nigeria: a five-year review


  • Adewumi B. Oyesakin Department of Paediatrics, National Hospital Abuja, FCT, Nigeria
  • Vincent E. Nwatah Department of Paediatrics, National Hospital Abuja, FCT, Nigeria
  • Nwankwo U. Ukpai Department of Paediatrics, National Hospital Abuja, FCT, Nigeria
  • Ekaette I. David Department of Haematology, National Hospital Abuja, FCT, Nigeria
  • Tamunomieibi T. Wakama Department of Haematology, National Hospital Abuja, FCT, Nigeria
  • Oluseyi Oniyangi Department of Paediatrics, National Hospital Abuja, FCT, Nigeria



Acute Leukemia, Follow-up, Outcome, Presentation


Background: Acute leukemia is the most common childhood malignancy but its occurrence in low- and middle-income countries are under-reported. Its pattern of presentation varies depending on several factors. The objective of this report is to determine the pattern of presentation of acute leukemias in children at a tertiary hospital in Nigeria.

Methods: A retrospective cross-sectional study of children managed for acute leukemia at the Paediatric Department in a 5-year period. Of 31 patients, 27 had adequate records, which were reviewed. Data collected include patient’s demographics, clinical features and treatment outcome.

Results: There were 16 males and 11 females, aged 8 months to 16 years (mean 7.45 years ±4.75 SD). The pattern of clinical features were fever (85.2%), pallor (92.6%) and splenomegaly (51.9%). The specific leukemia type ratio for Acute Myeloid leukemia (AML) and Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) was 1: 2.9. The parents of three patients took their children away before commencement of treatment, one patient completed treatment and 6 (22.2%) died before completing treatment. Nearly half of the patients were lost to follow up to seek alternative care while 9 (33.3%) of the patients were in remission at last follow up. Lost to follow-up was found not to be significantly associated with socioeconomic status, age and sex respectively.

Conclusions: Acute lymphoblastic leukemia remains the predominant type of childhood leukemia in our setting. Majority of the patients presented with fever and pallor moreover the default to follow-up plagues treatment completion.


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