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Ethnicity and Etiology in Burn Trauma

Papp, Anthony MD, PhD, FRCSC; Haythornthwaite, Jordan MD

doi: 10.1097/BCR.0b013e3182a223ec
Original Articles

The purpose of this study was to retrieve data from the British Columbia Professional Firefighters Burn Unit registry, with a focus on ethnicity and how it is involved in burn trauma. It is hypothesized that mechanism, severity, and other patient characteristics are significantly different among different ethnic groups. Furthermore, it is believed that these data can be used to augment burn prevention strategies. Data for burn patients admitted from 1979 to 2009 were reviewed from the burn registry. The main focus was with differences seen among the four main ethnicities throughout the analysis, Caucasian, Aboriginal, Asian, and Indoasian, reflecting the population distribution of the region. Age and sex were also considered when looking at burn mechanism, severity, contributing and copresenting factors. Caucasians were the largest group (79.1%) and included the largest male:female ratio (3.3:1), with high numbers of flame injury (53.9%). Caucasians presented with the highest mortality (6.6% compared with 4.1% for all other ethnicities; P < .006). Asian patients (8.1%) showed significantly higher occurrences of urban (64%) and workplace (28.9%) injuries with a larger proportion of scald injury (38.9%). Indoasian patients included larger numbers of women (36.4%) and household scald injuries (33.9%) whereas Aboriginals suffered the most flame injuries (60.1%) in rural areas with more frequent contributing factors such as alcohol. The study found multiple significant differences in the burn injury population when segmented by ethnicity. Though the exact reasons for these differences are difficult to say with certainty, it allows a unique opportunity to focus communication and prevention efforts to specific communities.

From the Division of Plastic Surgery, University of British Columbia, Vancouver General Hospital, Canada

Address correspondence to Jordan Haythornthwaite, MD, UBC Faculty of Medicine, 910 West 10th Avenue, Vancouver, British Columbia V5Z 4E3, Canada.

© 2014 The American Burn Association