Mortality after thermal injury: no sex-related difference

J Trauma. 2011 Apr;70(4):959-64. doi: 10.1097/TA.0b013e3181e59dbe.


Background: Young women have been reported to be more likely to survive than men after severe trauma. Girls also have less inflammation and hypermetabolism after major burns. Yet burned women have been found to have a twofold greater risk of death than men. Our aim was to find out if there is a sex-related difference in mortality after thermal injury, particularly in the age group between 16 years and 49 years, when hormonal differences would be most influential.

Methods: All patients admitted to the Linköping University Hospital Burn Unit with thermal injuries during the years 1993-2008 were included and the variables percentage burned total body surface area (TBSA%), age, type of burn, mechanical ventilation, and year were included in a multiple regression (Poisson log) model.

Results: Of 1,119 patients with thermal injury, 792 (71%) were men. Crude mortality was 5% among men, and 8% among women (p = 0.04). After adjustment for age and TBSA%, there was no correlation between mortality and sex, in any age group. Eight men and four women died in the group of young adults (16-49 years) in which TBSA% correlated with mortality (p < 0.01) but age did not. Mortality was 14% (32 of 221) among the men and 23% (23 of 102) of women in the group of older adults (50 years and older), and both age and TBSA% correlated with mortality (p < 0.001).

Conclusions: There is no relevant sex-related difference in survival after thermal injury. The conclusion is, however, tempered by the few deaths, particularly among younger adults.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Burns / diagnosis
  • Burns / mortality*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Sex Factors
  • Survival Rate / trends
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Trauma Severity Indices
  • Young Adult