Background: Stroke is regarded as a possible complication of burn. Some author reported that stroke developed in 22% of burned patients. However, the true incidence and the clinical characteristics of stroke occurring after burn injury are unknown.
Methods: We reviewed the medical records of patients who had been admitted to the Burn Center at the Hangang Sacred Heart Hospital between January 1997 and May 2005. Patients with mild burns who did not require admission to the hospital were excluded from the study. Stroke patients were selected.
Results: A total of 13,468 patients were admitted due to burn injury during the above-mentioned period. Nine (0.07%) patients (5 men, 4 women; mean age, 55 years) developed stroke while being under treatment for their burn injuries. The median duration between the burn injury and stroke onset was 33 days (range, 2-307). The mean surface area of the burn wound was 21% (range, 3-50). Ischemic infarction was observed in 4 patients, intracerebral hemorrhage in 3 others, and multiple hemorrhagic infarction and subdural hematoma in 1 patient each. Seven out of the 9 patients revealed the presence of septic conditions that occurred subsequent to the burn.
Conclusion: Stroke is a rare complication of a burn injury in the clinical setting. It develops in moderate burns (10-50% of the total body surface area) after some time. Prevention of infection/sepsis is important to alleviate the occurrence of a stroke in these patients.