Burn mortality during 1982 to 1997 in Kuwait


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Abstract

The study group is comprised of 234 patients (6.4%) who died out of 3680 patients treated for burn injuries during the period January 1982 to December 1997 in Kuwait. There were 112 (47.9%) males and 122 (52.1%) females and their mean age was 30 years (range 1–93) when compared with 24 years among survivors. The high mortality amongst two age groups 0–5 years (39 deaths, 16.7%) and 16–35 years (109 deaths, 46.6%) shows their vulnerability in the society. In 190 patients (81.2%) the burn injuries occurred at home. A total of 216 patients (92.3%) sustained flame burns mainly due to clothes on fire (40.6%) and cooking gas accidents (25.2%), and in 18 patients (7.7%) the burns were due to scalds. The suicidal burns occurred in 22 female and 5 male patients mainly of younger age groups. The mean percentage of burns was 71% (range 9–100%) as against 20% amongst survivors, and 195 patients (83.3%) had ≥ 50% total body surface area (TBSA) burn. Four patients (1.7%) had superficial dermal burns, 94 (40.2%) had full thickness and 136 (58.1%) had mixed with full thickness burns predominance. The associated inhalation injury was diagnosed in 132 patients (56.4%). A total of 61 patients (26.1%) had either single or multiple pre-existing diseases and 51 of them sustained flame burns. The day of death varied from 1 to 103 days (mean 16 days) but 58 patients (24.8%) died within 48 hours of post burn. A total of 120 patients (51.3%) died due to septicaemia, 83 (35.5%) due to renal failure, 28 (10.2%) due to multi-organ failure, and 7 (3.0%) due to bronchopneumonia. The overall mortality rate was 6.4%, but this has significantly lowered to 4.4% (p = < 0.01) during last four years probably due to better burn care. The study thus shows that age group 0–5 and 16–35 years, domestic accidents, flame burn, inhalation injury, and pre-existing diseases are risk factors and septicaemia as the dominant cause of death in our patients.

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