Purpose: Burn injuries require a multidisciplinary approach. Emergency Departments can play vital roles in the treatment of burns. The purpose of this study is to investigate the epidemiological and clinical characteristics of the adult burn patients admitted to our Emergency Department and to determine the frequency of the patients who were treated on an outpatient basis and discharged from the Emergency Department.
Procedure: A retrospective review of 314 adult burn patients who presented to the Emergency Medicine Department of Erciyes University Hospital from January 1996 to December 2000.
Findings: Sixty-four percent of the patients were male. Mean age was 32.9+/-14.7. Ninety-nine patients (32%) had moderate to major burns. The highest numbers of patients were in the 21-30 age group. Flame burns comprised the majority of presentations and admissions (48 and 69%, respectively). Thirteen patients had associated injuries (4%). Eighty-seven patients (28%) were hospitalized, 21 of these died. Death occurred mostly from respiratory failure and sepsis. Domestic accidents were the leading mechanism (63%).
Conclusion: Burns were mostly due to accidents arising from carelessness, ignorance, hazardous traditions and improperly manufactured products. These can be prevented through mass education programs countrywide. Because almost all burn patients present to Emergency Departments first and not all hospitals can employ burn specialists, the patients with minor burns can be treated on an outpatient basis and the treatment of severe burns can be effectively initiated by emergency physicians.