Explosive burns during abusive inhalation of butane gas

S J Oh, S E Lee, J S Burm, C H Chung, J W Lee, Y C Chang, D C Kim
Burns 1999, 25 (4): 341-4
Explosion burns during abusive inhalation of butane gas rarely occurred in the past, but recently it has become a social problem among groups of teenagers. This cause constitutes 1.6% of admissions due to flame burn at the burn unit of Hallym Medical Center. A retrospective review during a five-year period identified 48 patients. The male to female ratio was 3:1. The mean age of patients was 16 years and 8 months. The places where the accidents occurred were commonly bedrooms or motel rooms. There were nine group settings of 27 patients at the time of the accident. Inhalation injury (n = 12) was noted on admission. The average burn size was 28.5 percent of the total body surface area. All patients sustained burn injury on the face, arms and hands and 24 patients among them had extended burn areas on the trunk and/or lower extremity. 22 patients (mean hospital stay; 51.6 d) required skin grafting and 12 patients (mean hospital stay; 22.3 d) were treated with conservative management. The mortality rate was 10.4 percent. Explosion burns during abusive inhalation of butane gas can result in mortality as well as major burn injuries.

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