JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

A Novel Classification System for Injuries After Electronic Cigarette Explosions

Scott B Patterson, Allison R Beckett, Alicia Lintner, Carly Leahey, Ashley Greer, Sidney B Brevard, Jon D Simmons, Steven A Kahn
Journal of Burn Care & Research: Official Publication of the American Burn Association 2017, 38 (1): e95-e100
27893577
Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) contain lithium batteries that have been known to explode and/or cause fires that have resulted in burn injury. The purpose of this article is to present a case study, review injuries caused by e-cigarettes, and present a novel classification system from the newly emerging patterns of burns. A case study was presented and online media reports for e-cigarette burns were queried with search terms "e-cigarette burns" and "electronic cigarette burns." The reports and injury patterns were tabulated. Analysis was then performed to create a novel classification system based on the distinct injury patterns seen in the study. Two patients were seen at our regional burn center after e-cigarette burns. One had an injury to his thigh and penis that required operative intervention after ignition of this device in his pocket. The second had a facial burn and corneal abrasions when the device exploded while he was inhaling vapor. The Internet search and case studies resulted in 26 cases for evaluation. The burn patterns were divided in direct injury from the device igniting and indirect injury when the device caused a house or car fire. A numerical classification was created: direct injury: type 1 (hand injury) 7 cases, type 2 (face injury) 8 cases, type 3 (waist/groin injury) 11 cases, and type 5a (inhalation injury from using device) 2 cases; indirect injury: type 4 (house fire injury) 7 cases and type 5b (inhalation injury from fire started by the device) 4 cases. Multiple e-cigarette injuries are occurring in the United States and distinct patterns of burns are emerging. The classification system developed in this article will aid in further study and future regulation of these dangerous devices.

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