The effect of hand burns on quality of life in children

J Burn Care Res. May-Jun 2010;31(3):414-22. doi: 10.1097/BCR.0b013e3181db5295.


There is limited data regarding the long-term outcomes for children with hand burns. The objective of this study was to prospectively document recovery after burn injury using a validated health outcomes burn questionnaire for infants, children, and adolescents. A single center prospective study was conducted on consecutive children aged 0 to 4 years and 5 to 18 years comparing outcomes between children with and without hand burns. Age specific American Burn Association/Shriners Hospitals for Children Burn Outcomes Questionnaires were administered at admission, first clinic after discharge, 3, 6, 12, 18, and 24 months after injury. One hundred eighty-one consecutive patients were enrolled in the study. Demographic, injury, and survey outcome data were available for 145 patients for at least 24 months after injury. Children with hand burns had significantly longer hospitalization, intensive care unit days, ventilator days, and TBSA burns. Initial Burn Outcomes Questionnaire scores for children with hand burns were significantly lower than controls and children with burns not involving the hand. For ages 0 to 4 years and 5 to 18 years, only the domain specific to upper extremity function was significantly decreased between the groups over the entire study period. Despite severe injury, children with hand burns have continued improvement in quality of life for at least 2 years after injury. The presence of a hand burn in the context of large TBSA burn is a marker of more severe acute illness and predicts increased resource utilization. Rehabilitative efforts after upper extremity injury should continue to target both physical function and the psychosocial impact of burn injury.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Biomarkers
  • Burns / epidemiology
  • Burns / psychology
  • Burns / rehabilitation*
  • California
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Hand Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Hand Injuries / psychology
  • Hand Injuries / rehabilitation
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Biomarkers