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Burns. 2009 Jun;35(4):572-9. doi: 10.1016/j.burns.2008.10.003. Epub 2009 Feb 8.

A population-based study of the epidemiology of acute adult burn injuries in the Calgary Health Region and factors associated with mortality and hospital length of stay from 1995 to 2004.

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  • 1University of Toronto, Department of Medical Imaging, c/o 22B Birch Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



Trauma resulting from acute burns is relatively common and we wished to study the incidence, outcomes and factors related to mortality and hospital length of stay to identify potential areas of prevention and improve the care of burn-injured patients. To do so, we studied a population of adult burn injury patients from a large area of Canada (the Calgary Health Region (CHR) over a 10-year period. Burn data from this population-based sample has never been published and is not currently included in the American Burn Association Repository report.


We extracted data on all adult (>or=18 years) residents of the CHR who suffered a burn injury requiring hospital admission between January 1995 and December 2004. Of particular interest were patient demographics, incidence and mortality rates of the victims as well as any factors that were associated with mortality or increased length of hospital stay.


A total of 928 burn-injured patients were identified. The highest incidence of burn injury admissions in the CHR occurred in 1996 (12.2 burn injury admissions per 100,000 population) and 2004 (12.3 admissions per 100,000 population). The largest number of burn injury admissions occurred during the months of July and August (23.3%), while the fewest occurred during the winter months of February and December (11.9%). Mean patient age was 45.2 years (range 18-97) and 658 (70.9%) were male. The majority of our patients were admitted with second-degree burns (48.7%) and burns of the head and neck were the most prevalent (22.2%). The mean length of hospital stay for burn patients was 20.4 days (range 1-312). Over the course of the 10 years of the study, 9 (1.0%) burn patients died during their hospital stay. In univariate analyses, burn survivors differed significantly from non-survivors with respect to mean age, burn degree, body part burned and year of admission. In adjusted analyses, survivors and non-survivors differed significantly with respect to year and month of admission, degree of burn, patient age and length of stay. Factors significantly associated with increase length of hospital stay included degree of burn, older patient age and hospital site.


In this Canadian health region, patients who die from burns tend to be older, present to the hospital during the winter months, and suffer more acute burns to the torso or multiple body regions. Additionally, patient length of stay is influenced by older patient age and greater burn thickness.

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