Factors affecting mortality and epidemiological data in patients hospitalised with burns in Diyarbakir, Turkey

  • M Aldemir
  • IH Kara
  • S Girgin
  • C Guloglu


Background. Burns continue to be responsible for significant morbidity and mortality in developing countries. In this study we aimed to determine the factors affecting mortality and epidemiological data by examining the records of burned patients. Method. The hospital records of 980 patients who were hospitalised in the Burns Unit at Dicle University Hospital (DUH) between June 1994 and July 1999 were examined for factors affecting mortality. Factors evaluated included gender, age, burn type, degree and extent of burn, prognosis and length of hospitalisation (LH). We investigated the relationship (if any) between the demographic data, degree and extent of burns and mortality and morbidity rates. Results. The study group consisted of 325 males (33.2%) and 655 females (66.8%). Of the patients 738 (75.3%) were children (age under 15 years), 217 (22.1%) were younger adults (age 15 - 50 years), and 25 (2.6%) were older adults (age over 50 years). The mean age was 11.2 ± 14.01 years (range 15 days - 95 years). Of the burns 618 (63.1%) were scalds, 199 (20.3%) burns from a flame and 163 (16.6%) electrical burns. The mean extent of burn was 24.3 ± 14.5% (range 1 - 95%). Seven hundred and eighty-seven (80.3%) of the study group made a full recovery, 131 (13.4%) were discharged from hospital after partial recovery, and 62 (6.3%) died. The mean LH was 11.33 ± 8.8 days (range 1 - 67 days). There was a positive correlation between burn extent and mortality (r = 0.35, p < 0.0001) and between age and type of burn (r = 0.60, p < 0.0001). While scalds had the highest frequency among children, flame and electrical burns were most common in the adult and older adult groups. There was also a positive correlation between degree and type of burn (r = 0.32, p = 0.0001), scalds tending to be more superficial while flame and electrical burns were generally more serious. Deaths of patients with extensive burns usually occurred in the first 5 days following injury due to acute renal failure and hypovolaemic shock, while deaths from moderate and minor burns usually occurred after 7 days and were due to wound infection and sepsis. Conclusion. We found positive correlations between age and type of burn, degree and type of burn, and the extent of burn and mortality. The overall mortality rate for our unit was 6.3%.

South African Journal of Surgery Vol. 43 (4) 2005: pp. 159-162

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