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Burns. 2015 Feb;41(1):172-6. doi: 10.1016/j.burns.2014.06.008. Epub 2014 Jul 8.

Effect of current pathway on mortality and morbidity in electrical burn patients.

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Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran. Electronic address:



Electrical injury is relatively uncommon but it is a devastating form of thermal injury. The aim of this study is to analyze specific aspects of electrical injuries, especially the effect of current pathways on morbidity and mortality.


This descriptive-analytical study was performed on patients with electrical burns who were admitted to the Shahid Motahary Burn Center from April 2010 to March 2012. Demographic and clinical data including gender, age, length of hospital stay, total body surface area (TBSA), grading of burn, electrical voltage, inlet electrical mark, outflow electrical mark, current pathway, surgical procedures, and place of electrical burn have been gathered from medical records. The site of inlet and outlet of current on the body is divided into six groups: Rt (right) upper limb, Lt (left) upper limb, Rt lower limb, Lt lower limb, head and neck, and trunk. According to these sites, the current pathway is defined to seven groups. Data were analyzed with SPSS software, version 20.


From 287 patients, 283 were men and 4 were women. The mean age was 30±12 years (range 1-71) and mean TBSA was 13.56±12.97% (range 1-100). There were 233 patients (81.2%) with passage of the electrical current through the body and 54 patients (18.8%) with flash burns. A total of 859 surgical procedures were performed on 232 patients. One hundred and eighteen amputations were performed in 83 patients. The most common inlet electrical marks were in Rt upper limb and the most common outlet electrical marks were in Lt lower limbs, and consequently, the most common pathway was upper limb to lower limb.


Electrical injuries are mainly occupation-related injuries and in this research majority of injuries occurred outdoor by high voltage cables in young men. Thus the government should consider a distinct strategy for this group. Also it is observed that there were no significant differences in mortality and complications such as amputation between different pathways.


Amputation; Electrical burn; Electrical pathway

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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