Most literature about geriatric burns has focused on inpatient management; therefore, our study investigated the effects of burn characteristics and preexisting medical comorbidities on treatment outcomes for geriatric burn patients treated as outpatients.Methods
A retrospective review was conducted for 391 patients over 65 years of age seen in the emergency department of Fukui Prefectural Hospital over a 10-year period. Charts were reviewed for age, sex, burn characteristics, burn mechanisms, preexisting medical comorbidities, and treatment outcomes. Multivariate regression analysis was used to examine the relationship between outcomes of outpatients and comorbidities, which were calculated by the Charlson comorbidity index.Results
Seventy-three patients aged 65 years and older were treated as outpatients at Fukui Prefectural Hospital. The majority (80%) of these patients had burns on less than 5% of their total body surface area. Scald burns accounted for 63% of burn mechanisms, with burns to the lower extremities being the most frequent. The mean percentage of total burn surface area was 4% in the outpatient group and 28% for the inpatient group. The mean time to healing was 24.3 days in outpatients. Of the 73 outpatients, 17 (23%) showed delayed healing. Of these 17 patients, 3 patients experienced wound infection and 2 patients had documented hypertrophic scarring. Four patients ultimately underwent excision and grafting. The common preexisting medical comorbidities in the outpatient group were congestive heart failure and diabetic mellitus. There were no significant differences for medical comorbidities between outpatients and inpatients. The Charlson comorbidity index for outpatients with delayed healing was higher than that for those without delayed healing. The Charlson comorbidity index was associated with delayed healing of outpatients, but age or total burn surface area were not.Conclusions
The characteristics of geriatric burn outpatients were distinct from those of inpatients. The weighted sum of preexisting medical comorbidities may affect wound healing among geriatric burn outpatients.