Demographics of Pediatric Burns in Vellore, India

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The American Burn Association, Children’s Burn Foundation, and Christian Medical College in Vellore, India have partnered together to improve pediatric burn care in Southern India. We report the demographics and outcomes of burns in this center, and create a benchmark to measure the effect of the partnership. A comparison to the National Burn Repository is made to allow for generalization and assessment to other burn centers, and to control for known confounders such as burn size, age, and mechanism. Charts from the pediatric burn center in Vellore, India were retrospectively reviewed and compared with data in the American Burn Association National Burn Registry (NBR) for patients younger than 16 years. One hundred nineteen pediatric patients with burns were admitted from January 2004 through April 2007. Average age was 3.8 years; average total body surface area burn was 24%: 64% scald, 30% flame, 6% electric. Annual death rate was 10%, with average fatal total body surface area burn was 40%. Average lengths of stay for survivors was 15 days. Delay of presentation was common (45% of all patients). Thirty-five of 119 patients received operations (29%). Flame burn patients were older (6.1 years vs 2.6 years), larger (30 vs 21%), had a higher fatality rate (19.4 vs 7.7%), and more of them were female (55 vs 47%) compared with scald burn patients. Electric burn patients were oldest (8.3 years) and all male. When compared with data in the NBR, average burn size was larger in Vellore (24 vs 9%). The mortality rate was higher in Vellore (10.1 vs 0.5%). The average mortal burn size in Vellore was smaller (40 vs 51%). Electric burns were more common in Vellore (6.0 vs 1.6%). Contact burns were almost nonexistent in Vellore (0.9 vs 13.1%). The differences in pediatric burn care from developing health care systems to burn centers in the US are manifold. Nonpresentation of smaller cases, and incomplete data in the NBR explain many of the differences. However, burns at this center in Vellore, India were larger, and occurred to younger patients than burns that reported in the NBR. Individualized assessment of care systems are needed when implementing development plans.

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