Burn-trauma patient encounters constitute 5% of the emergency department population.
A large urban hospital will treat twice as many (ie, 10%) burn-trauma patients.
Retrospective 44-month study.
Metropolitan county hospital.
Population-based sample of burn-only (n = 1102), burn-trauma (n = 120), and assault burn–trauma (n = 43) patients.
Main Outcome Measures
Frequency and demographics.
Just under 10% (n = 120) of the burn population had burn-trauma injuries. The mean ± SD Injury Severity Score was 12 ± 12 in these burn-trauma patients: 4 ± 2 in outpatients and 14 ± 13 in inpatients. The burn-only and burn-trauma groups had similar age ranges, ethnic distribution, frequency of inhalation injury, substance abuse, malnutrition, sepsis, pneumonia, diabetes mellitus, percentage total burn surface area, number of procedures, grafted areas, and mortality. Forty-three burn-trauma patients (35.8%) sustained injuries due to assault, compared with 123 (11.2%) in the burn-only group (P<.001). Burn-trauma patients who were assaulted had a mean ± SD Injury Severity Score of 11 ± 10. There was a significantly increased male-female ratio among the assault burn–trauma patients (6:1) compared with the burn-trauma (3:1) and burn-only (2.3:1) groups (P<.04). Most of these injuries were caused by an unknown assailant, in connection with an automobile, a motorcycle, a bicycle, or pedestrians intentionally struck by moving vehicles, or by child abuse. The main mechanism of injury was contact in 57 burn-trauma patients (47.5%), compared with 127 (11.5%) in the burn-only group (P<.001).
A large urban population will have an increased frequency (2-fold in our center) of burn-trauma injuries. Assault and child abuse are significant contributory factors to burn-trauma injuries in this population.