Outcomes of Outpatient Management of Pediatric Burns

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Abstract

The literature surrounding pediatric burns has focused on inpatient management. The goal of this study is to characterize the population of burned children treated as outpatients and assess outcomes validating this method of burn care. A retrospective review of 953 patients treated the burn clinic and burn unit of a tertiary care center. Patient age, burn etiology, burn characteristics, burn mechanism, and referral pattern were recorded. The type of wound care and incidence of outcomes including subsequent hospital admission, infection, scarring, and surgery served as the primary outcome data. Eight hundred and thirty children were treated as outpatients with a mean time of 1.8 days for the evaluation of burn injury in our clinic. Scalds accounted for 53% of the burn mechanism, with burns to the hand/wrist being the most frequent area involved. The mean percentage of TBSA was 1.4% for the outpatient cohort and 8% for the inpatient cohort. Burns in the outpatient cohort healed with a mean time of 13.4 days. In the outpatient cohort, nine (1%) patients had subsequent admissions and three (0.4%) patients had concern for infection. Eight patients from the outpatient cohort were treated with excision and grafting. The vast majority of pediatric burns are small, although they may often involve more critical areas such as the face and hand. Outpatient wound care is an effective treatment strategy which results in low rates of complications and should become the standard of care for children with appropriate burn size and home support.

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