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J Trauma. 1994 Oct;37(4):655-9.

Effect of inhalation injury, burn size, and age on mortality: a study of 1447 consecutive burn patients.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 27707-7210.


The relative impact of inhalation injury, burn size, and age on overall outcome following burn injury was examined in 1447 consecutive burn patients over a five and a half year period. The overall mortality for all patients was 9.5% (138 of 1447). The presence of inhalation injury, increasing burn size, and advancing age were all associated with an increased mortality (p < 0.01). The incidence of inhalation injury was 19.6% (284 of 1447) and correlated with increasing percent total body surface area (%TBSA) burn (r = 0.41, p < 0.01) and advancing age (r = 0.15, p < 0.01). The overall mortality for patients with inhalation injury was 31% (88 of 284) compared with 4.3% (50 of 1163) for those without inhalation injury. Using multivariate analysis inhalation injury was found to be an important variable in determining outcome, but the most important factor in predicting mortality was %TBSA burn (accuracy = 92.8%) or a combination of %TBSA burn and patient age (accuracy = 93.0%). Adding inhalation injury only slightly improved the ability to predict mortality (accuracy = 93.3%). The presence of inhalation injury is significantly associated with mortality after thermal injury but adds little to the prediction of mortality using %TBSA and age alone.

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