An Eleven-Year Survey of Electrical Burn Injuries

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One hundred eighty-six patients with electrical burns were treated within an 11-year period at The Hacettepe University Burn Unit. Both children and adults were treated in this burn unit. The main causes of injury were misuse of electrical appliances, inattentiveness, lack of education in safety precautions, and lack of parental supervision. Treatment consisted of first, normal resuscitation in which Ringer's lactate solution was administered (according to the Parkland formula). Fluid resuscitation was followed by debridement, fasciotomy, and escharatomy. Two major complications were encountered: musculoskeletal involvement in 44% of patients, which required major amputation in 79%, and acute renal failure in 14.51% of patients. In spite of treatment with peritoneal dialysis or hemodialysis, the mortality rate for patients with renal failure was quite high (59%). To decrease the number of complications, closer monitoring of patients and early surgical decompression were applied. The results of this survey demonstrate the need for burn prevention programs in Turkey. Physicians and health care officials have an obligation to educate the public about the prevention of electrical burns. The results of this study and other studies on electrical burns should be communicated to the public through every available means.

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