Smoking-Related Home Oxygen Burn Injuries: Continued Cause for Alarm

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Home oxygen therapy is a mainstay of treatment for patients with various cardiopulmonary diseases. In spite of warnings against smoking while using home oxygen, many patients sustain burn injuries.


We aimed to quantify the morbidity and mortality of such patients admitted to our regional burn unit over a 6-year period.


A retrospective chart review of all patients admitted to a regional burn center from 2008 through 2013 was completed. Admitted patients sustaining burns secondary to smoking while using home oxygen therapy were selected as the study population to determine morbidity.


Fifty-five subjects were admitted to the burn unit for smoking-related home oxygen injuries. The age range was 40-84 years. Almost all subjects were on home oxygen for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (96%). Seventy-two percent of burns involved <5% of the total body surface area, 51% of patients were intubated, and of those 33% had evidence of inhalation injury. The hospital mortality rate was 14.5%. The mean length of hospital stay was 8.6 days, and 54.5% were discharged to a nursing home or another advanced facility. Finally, concomitant substance abuse was found in 27%, and a previous history of injury from smoking while on home oxygen was discovered in 14.5%.


This single-center analysis is one of the largest describing burn injuries stemming from smoking while using home oxygen therapy. We identified the morbidity and mortality associated with these injuries. Ongoing education and careful consideration of prescribing home oxygen therapy for known smokers is highly encouraged.

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