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Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1985 Nov;66(11):746-52.

Burns: causes and risk factors.


In a retrospective study of 277 adult patients consecutively hospitalized for burns over a five-year period (1975-1979) patients' characteristics, circumstances of burn injury and prevalence of established predisposing factors were determined. The average age was 44.5 years, 78% were black and 62% were men. Average extent of burn was 19.7% body surface area. Major causes included flames in 44.8%, scalds in 28.5%, and chemicals in 9.7%. Seventy-four percent of all burns occurred at home. Burns resulting from assault accounted for 20.9%. Fifty-six percent of the patients had one or more of the established predisposing factors. Judged to be predisposed to burn injury were all of those who attempted suicide, all who were using self-treatment for some preexisting conditions, 85% of the elderly, 83% of those who died, 81% of those burned in the bathtub and 80% of those assaulted. Other described groups were also at high risk. Living alone increased risk of injury in persons prone to burn. The most common predisposing factors were alcohol and drug abuse, physical and mental illness and advanced age. Mortality rate was 12.6%. This study emphasizes the urgent need for effective burn prevention programs in which all health professionals should play an important role.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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