JOURNAL ARTICLE

Civilian blast-related burn injuries

J N Patel, A Tan, P Dziewulski
Annals of Burns and Fire Disasters 2016 March 31, 29 (1): 43-46
27857651
There is limited English literature describing the experience of a civilian hospital managing blast-related burn injuries. As the largest regional burn unit, we reviewed our cases with the aim of identifying means to improve current management. A 6-year retrospective analysis of all patients coded as sustaining blast-related burns was conducted through the unit's burns database. Medical case notes were reviewed for information on burn demographics, management and outcomes. 42 patients were identified. Male to female ratio was 37:5. Age range was 12-84 years, (mean=33 years). Total body surface area (%TBSA) burn ranged from 0.25% to 60%, (median=1%). The most common burn injury was flame (31/42, 73.8%). Gas explosions were the most common mechanism of injury (19 cases; 45.2%). 7/42 cases (16.7%) had full ATLS management pre-transfer to the burns unit. The Injury Severity Score (ISS) ranged from 0-43 (median=2). 17/42 (40.4%) patients required admission. 37/36 (88.1%) patients were managed conservatively of which 1 patient later required surgery due to deeper burns. 5/42 (11.9%) patients required surgical management at presentation and these were noted to be burns with >15% TBSA requiring resuscitation. One case required emergency escharotomies and finger amputations. All patients survived their burn injuries. Blast-related burn injuries are generally uncommon in the civilian setting. Following proper assessment, most of these cases can be deemed as minor injuries and managed conservatively. Improvement in burns management education and training at local emergency departments would provide efficient patient care and avoid unnecessary referrals to a burns unit.

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