Self-inflicted burns: The Experience of a UK Regional Burns Centre.
Self-inflicted burns (SIB) are preventable injuries that often occur due to suicidal intent or deliberate self-harm. The incidence of SIB and demographics vary across different countries. This study highlights our regional experience of SIB over almost two decades, assessing characteristics and outcomes. A retrospective chart review of all patients assessed at a UK regional burns centre, presenting with SIB, from 2003 to 2021, was performed. Subgroup analyses based on gender, the presence or absence of pre-existing psychiatric disorders and in-hospital patient mortality were undertaken. The relationship between annual mental health funding and incidence of SIB was assessed. Over the study period 285 SIB cases, with a median age of 42.84 years, presented to our centre. The majority of patients were male (63.2%) and had a pre-existing psychiatric disorder (74.7%). Flame burns were the most frequent type of injury (82.1%) and the median total body surface area (TBSA) was 10.25%. The average length of hospital stay was 10 days and inpatient mortality rate 20.7%, significantly great than the mortality of the rest of the cohort (3.7%, p<0.01). SIB survivors were younger and had less severe burns, relative to non-survivors. There was no statistically significant correlation between the incidence of self-inflicted burns and mental health funding. Self-inflicted burns account for a minority of referrals to our regional burns centre. Adequately funded regional and national measures should be implemented to reduce the incidence and impact of these injuries, alongside appropriate mental health support.
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