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Contact Burns: Is Further Prevention Necessary?

Alden, Nicole E. RN, MPH; Rabbitts, Angela RN, MS; Yurt, Roger W. MD, FACS

doi: 10.1097/01.BCR.0000226102.43343.0A
Original Articles

Contact burns may result in severe burn injury due to prolonged transfer of heat from an object to the skin. Often, these burns occur with the use of household appliances and fixtures during routine activities of daily living. A retrospective review was performed. Data were obtained through a review of electronic medical records and the Burn Center’s National Trauma Registry of the American College of Surgeons database. Patients admitted to the burn center between July 1999 and June 2004, who had sustained a contact burn, were identified and included in the study group. During the study period, 336 patients (55% male) were admitted for treatment of acute contact burns. The mean age of patients was 18 years, and the median age was 2.4 years. The mean burn size of the study group was 2.1% of the total body surface area. During the study period, four patients required mechanical ventilation for a mean of 13.2 days. Surgical closure of the burn wound was required by 36% of patients. Eighty-nine percent of patients were discharged to home; mortality rate was 1.0%. The majority of burns (92%) were non-occupational. The findings of this study support the premise that significant morbidity from contact with heated objects continues to occur. During the past 5 years, the incidence of contact burns has remained steady, resulting in 10% of all aucte burn injuries requiring hospitalization at this burn center. The incidence reported here is similar to those reported both nationally and internationally and supports the need for continued burn prevention education.

From the New York Presbyterian Hospital, New York, New York.

Address correspondence to Nicole E. Alden, New York Presbyterian Hospital, 525 E. 68th St., Room 706, New York, NY 10021.

© 2006 The American Burn Association