The Epidemiology of Intentional Burns

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Abstract

We sought to present the epidemiology of intentional burns, both deliberate self-inflicted burns and assault burns. Patient records from the University of Alabama at Birmingham Burn Center were reviewed retrospectively. Information pertaining to demographic and injury characteristics were obtained. Ninety-six patients with intentional burns were identified. Patients sustaining intentional burn injury had larger mean TBSA burned (26.1% vs 13.8%), longer mean hospital length of stay (19.9 days vs 13.2 days), higher incidence of inhalational injury (20.8% vs 8.7%), higher rate of mortality (20.0% vs 9.8%), and were more likely to have an elevated blood alcohol content (14.6% vs 7%) when compared with all other burn patients. Patients with deliberate self-burns were more likely to be men (85.7% vs 55.7%) and more likely to have a positive drug screen test than assault burn patients (11.4% vs 0%). Patients who suffer intentional burns tend to have more severe burns and experience worse outcomes.

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