Childhood burns may lead to higher risks of death

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Childhood burns covering 60% have risks of death

A recently published study has found that children who have sustained injuries from burns covering more 60 percent or more of their total body surface area (TBSA) are at much higher risks of experiencing severe complications or death.

Authors of the study have urged that more attention should be given to such patients, suggesting that they receive more vigilant and improved forms of therapy.

The study was led by by Dr. Marc Jeschke of the Ross Tilley Burn Centre at the University of Toronto, Dr. David N Herndon of the Shriners Hospital for Children and colleagues at the University of Texas Medical Branch. It involved the assessment of 952 pediatric burn patients aged six to ten at the Shriners Hospital for Children, Galveston, Texas, USA, between 1998 and 2008. This was a single-center study, which narrows the scope of the findings. The research included patients with a range of burn sizes and also included those with severe burns as well as individuals with only 30 percent of their body affected.

13% of children risks death from severe burns

The researchers found that of the 13 percent of children who died (123 of the 952 patients), three percent of the deaths were of those with less severe burns, while those in the most severe category accounted for 55 percent of the deaths.

“We have established that, in a modern pediatric burn care setting, a burn size of roughly 60% TBSA is a crucial threshold for post-burn morbidity and mortality,” the authors of the study concluded. “On the basis of these findings, we recommend that pediatric patients with greater than 60% TBSA burns be immediately transferred to a specialized burn center.”

This study outlines a much higher threshold for poor outcome following severe burns than was formerly thought. But, the authors also noted that improvements in treatment since 1998 have led to reduced morbidity and increased survival for children affected.

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