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Pediatric Burns: A Single Institution Retrospective Review of Incidence, Etiology, and Outcomes in 2273 Burn Patients (1995–2013)

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Abstract

Unintentional burn injury is the third most common cause of death in the U.S. for children age 5 to 9, and accounts for major morbidity in the pediatric population. Pediatric burn admission data from U.S. institutions has not been reported recently. This study assesses all pediatric burn admissions to a State wide Certified Burn Treatment Center to evaluate trends in demographics, burn incidence, and cause across different age groups. Demographic and clinical data were collected on 2273 pediatric burn patients during an 18-year period (1995–2013). Pediatric patients were stratified by age into “age 0 to 6,” “age 7 to 12,” and “age 13 to 18.” Data were obtained from National Trauma Registry of the American College of Surgeons and analyzed using standard statistical methodology. A total of 2273 burn patients under age 18 were treated between 1995 and 2013. A total of 1663 (73.2%) patients were ages 0 to 6, 294 (12.9%) were 7 to 12, and 316 (13.9%) were age 13 to 18. A total of 1400 (61.6%) were male and 873 (38.4%) were female (male:female ratio of 1.6:1). Caucasians had the highest burn incidence across all age groups (40.9%), followed by African-Americans (33.6%), P < .001. Caucasian teenagers formed 62.1% of patients age 13–18, P < .001. A total of 66.3% of all pediatric burns occurred at home, P < .001. Mean TBSA burned was 8.9%, with lower extremity being the most common site (38.5%). Scald burns constituted the majority of cases (71.1%, n = 1617), with 53% attributable to hot liquids related to cooking, including coffee or tea, P < .001. In the teenage group, flame burns were the dominant cause (53.8%). Overall mean length of stay was 10.5 ± 10.8 days for all patients, and15.5 ± 12 for those admitted to the intensive care unit, P < .005. One hundred (4.4%) patients required ventilator support (P = .02), and average duration of mechanical ventilation was 11.9 ± 14.5 days. Skin grafting was performed for 520 (22.9%) patients, P < .001. Overall mortality was 0.9% (n = 20), with mean TBSA involved of 61.5%. The majority of pediatric burn injuries are scald burns that occur at home and primarily affect the lower extremities in Caucasian and African-American males. Among Caucasian teenagers flame burns predominate. Mean length of stay was 10 days, 23% of patients required skin grafting surgery, and mortality was 0.9%. The results of this study highlight the need for primary prevention programs focusing on avoiding home scald injuries in the very young, as well as fire safety training for teenagers.

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