Epidemiology and mortality of burns in a general hospital of Eastern Sri Lanka.
AffiliationMédecins Sans Frontières, Paris, France. email@example.com
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AbstractThis 2-year prospective study examined the epidemiology and mortality of 345 patients admitted with burn injuries. Sixty-four percent of all burns were accidental in nature and at least 25% were self-inflicted. The rest were due to assaults or had a doubtful cause. The median age was 22 years. Forty-one percent of the accidents were due to the fall of a homemade kerosene bottle lamp. The main cause was flames, followed by scalds. Females outnumbered males in all categories of burns except cases of assault, and suffered from a higher mortality. Most at risk of accidental burns were children between 1 and 4 years, who suffered primarily from scalds. Self-inflicted burns were most common among women aged 20-29 years. The overall median total body surface area (TBSA) burned was 16%. Self-inflicted and 'doubtful' burns were much more extensive and more often fatal than accidental ones. The overall mortality rate was 27%. Burns involving more than 50% of the body surface area were invariably fatal. Mortality was highest in the elderly and in the 20-29 years age group. Burns were the first single cause of mortality in the surgical wards. The case is made for the establishment of more Burns Units.
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