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Burn injuries continue to be one of the leading causes of accidental death and injury, with upwards of 400,000 people in the U.S. treated for burns every year, cites the American Burn Association (ABA).
Burn patients are also one of the most complex types of patient groups because of the trauma of the injury, the prevalence of pre-existing conditions and the occurrence of complications during their hospital stay.
Pneumonia is the most prevalent complication, according to burn center reports, followed by urinary tract infection, cellulitis, respiratory failure and wound infection. Factors such as age, burn size, and inhalation injury have all been linked to increased mortality rates.
The ABA, which has more than 2,000 members worldwide, works to promote and support burn-related care, prevention, education and research. At this year’s 53rd annual ABA meeting, there will be three days of “live” education from April 7th to 9th followed by on-demand content, symposia, a solutions expo, poster sessions and SIG Week the week of April 12th. See the ABA’s complete live and on-demand education schedule here.
Here are some sobering facts from the ABA’s “National Burn Repository 2017 Update,” a review of combined data of acute burn admissions between 2008 and 2017:
- 74.1 % of burn injuries occur at home.
- Almost one-third of all burn injuries occur in children under the age of 15.
- Of the total number of burns occurring each year, 39.1% are caused by fire and 32.8% by scalding. Other causes of burns included chemical, electrical, inhalation, skin disease, and radiation, all of which accounted for exactly 8% of burn injuries.
- Nearly 95% of cases with known circumstances of injury were identified as accidents, with nearly 13% of these reported as work-related. Just over 2% of cases were suspected abuse and 1% was self-inflicted.
- The mortality rate increases with the size of the burn. Those with 10% of their total body surface area (TBSA) burned have a mortality rate of 0.6% but that increases to 30% if the patient has a TBSA burn of over 40%. Patients with burns with greater than 70% TBSA have a 50% fatality rate.
- More than 67% of burn victims have less than 10% TBSA.
- On average, a burn patient’s hospital stay is approximately 1 day for every percent of their total body surface area burned in cases with less than 80% TBSA.
- For burns greater than 10% TBSA, total medical charges for surviving patients averaged $269,523 and charges for non-survivors averaged $361,342.
But there’s also good news: The average length of hospital stay has decreased in the last 10 years from 9.4 to 7.3 days for female patients and 9.5 to 8.5 days for males. Additionally, 96.8% of burn victims survive, thanks in large part to the hard work and dedication of firefighters, emergency responders, burn specialists and surgeons charged with their care.