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Pediatric Electrical Burn Injuries: Experience of a Large Tertiary Care Hospital and a Review of Electrical Injury

Glatstein, Miguel M. MD*; Ayalon, Itay MD; Miller, Ehud MD; Scolnik, Dennis MB ChB

doi: 10.1097/PEC.0b013e318294dd64
Original Articles

A retrospective review of all patients admitted between February 2004 and December 2009, with a diagnosis of burns associated with electrocution, was conducted at The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Data regarding type of electrocution and associated burns were collected. Of the 36 patients identified, 31 (86%) were shocked by electrical current, and 5 (14%) by lightning. Most burns associated with current were first degree (58%). The upper limbs, most frequently the wrist and arm (n = 23), were injured in 26 patients, and the lower limb in 2 patients, whereas 3 patients suffered multiple sites of injury. Twenty-eight patients were treated conservatively with dressings and minor surgical interventions such as debridement and primary repair. The remainder required excision and/or grafting. Fasciotomy and/or escharotomy were performed in 2 patients, and no one required amputation. Burns associated with electrical injuries remain a worldwide problem, responsible for considerable morbidity and mortality. They can usually be prevented through simple safety measures. An effective prevention program would help address this problem.

From the *Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Dana-Dwek Children’s Hospital, and †Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Sourasky Medical Center, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel; and ‡Divisions of Pediatric Emergency Medicine and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, Department of Pediatrics, The Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Disclosure: The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Reprints: Miguel M. Glatstein, MD, Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Dana-Dwek Children’s Hospital, Tel-Aviv Sourasky Medical Center and Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, 6 Weizman St, Tel Aviv 64239, Israel (e-mail:

© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.