Epidemiology of burns at the University Teaching Hospital of Kigali, Rwanda

  • J.. Dushime
  • L. Jing
  • D. Uwamahoro
  • G. Mbanjumucyo
  • T. Depp
  • P. Shama


Introduction: Burns are the fourth most common type of injury presenting to the emergency department in Rwanda. However, there is little data on the epidemiology of burn patients, which is needed to inform public health measures for burn prevention. This study aimed to describe the characteristics and outcomes of burn patients presenting to the Emergency of the University Teaching Hospital Kigali.
Methods: This single-center prospective study evaluated patients with burn injuries presenting at CHUK emergency between 1 June and 31 December 2019. Data on demographics, burn characteristics, burn management, disposition and patient outcomes were collected, stored in Excel and analyzed descriptively using SPSS 24.
Results: Of the 96 patients enrolled; (58.3%) were male. The median age was 32.7 years. Most patients were pediatric (70.9%), with one to five-year-olds being the most affected age group. Scalding was the most common cause of burn at (71.9%). Most burns were accidental (95.8%) and superficial dermal in degree (72.9%). The mean time between injury and presentation was 18.1 hours. There were 12 mortalities (12.5%) within the 30 days post-injury, with scald injuries as the most frequent cause of mortality. Higher mortality was significantly associated with increased body surface area affected (p = 0.001).
Conclusion: Children between the ages of one and five years are the most affected by burns and scalding is the most common burn etiology. Public health measures should aim to prevent burn injuries in the pediatric population. This study was approved by the University of Rwanda /CMHS Institutional Review Board (IRB) No 136/CMHS IRB/ 2019.


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