The causes of burn wounds among adult patients treated at Pelonomi Tertiary Hospital, Bloemfontein
Background: Burn injuries account for approximately 180 000 deaths per annum, mostly in low- and middle-income countries.
Aim: This study sought to determine the causes of burn wounds among adults admitted to the Burn Wound Unit at Pelonomi Tertiary Hospital in Bloemfontein for treatment.
Methods: This was a prospective, cross-sectional study. The target population consisted of adult patients, hospitalised for burn wounds at Pelonomi Tertiary Hospital in Bloemfontein, between July 2016 and early January 2017. Relevant data was collected by means of a structured interview using a questionnaire.
Results: A total of 49 patients were interviewed during the study period. Almost two-thirds of the patients were male (65.3%, n=32). The median age was 33 years (range 18 to 64 years). In most cases, the injury occurred at home (77.6%, n=38). Three quarters of the reported incidents (77.6%, n=38) were considered accidental of which 68.4% (n=26) were related to domestic activities. At the time of the accidental incident, 39.5% (n=15) patients had consumed alcohol. Eleven (22.4%) of the incidents were intentional with 63.6% (n=7) attributed to assault. The two main causes of burn injuries were flames including flaming liquids (59.2%, n=29) and hot liquids (22.5%, n=11). The most frequent area of injury was the left front thigh.
Conclusion: The predominant cause of burn wounds was flames including flaming liquids, and injuries were mostly accidental in nature. Alcohol consumption and domestic activities were common in accidental burns.