Severe burns in Australian and New Zealand adults: Epidemiology and burn centre care

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Introduction: Studies describing the epidemiology of severe burns (>20% total body surface area) in adults are limited despite the extensive associated morbidity and mortality. This study aimed to describe the epidemiology of severe burn injuries admitted to burn centres in Australia and New Zealand. Materials and methods: Data from the Burns Registry of Australia and New Zealand (BRANZ) were used in this study. Patients were eligible for inclusion if they were admitted between August 2009 and June 2013, were adults (18-years or older), and had burns of 20% total body surface area (TBSA) or greater. Demographics, burn characteristics and in-hospital mortality risk factors were investigated using multivariable Cox proportional hazards analysis. Results: There were 496 BRANZ registered patients who met the inclusion criteria. Over half of the patients were aged 18–40 years and most were male. The median (IQR) TBSA was 31 (25–47). Most (75%) patients had burns involving <50% TBSA, 58% sustained their burn injury at home, and 86% had sustained flame burns. Leisure activities, working for income and preparing food together accounted for over 48% of the activities undertaken at the time of injury. The in-hospital mortality rate was 17% and the median (IQR) length of stay was 24 (12–44) days. Seventy-two percent were admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) and 40% of patients had an associated inhalation injury. Alcohol and/or drug involvement was suspected in 25% of cases. Conclusion: This study describes the demographics, burn injury characteristics and in-hospital outcomes of severe burn injuries in adults whilst also identifying key predictors of inpatient mortality. Key findings included the over-representation of young males, intentional self-harm injuries and flame as a cause of burns and highlights high risk groups to help aid in the development of targeted prevention strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1456-1461
Number of pages6
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019


  • Burn
  • Epidemiology
  • Mortality
  • Severe burns

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