Objectives: To describe trends in admissions to English hospitals and 30-day in-hospital mortality associated with a primary diagnosis of burns.
Design: Descriptive population-based study.
Participants: Patients admitted to hospital with a primary diagnosis of burns between 1991 and 2010.
Main outcome measures: Age-specific and age-standardised admission rates, and 30-day in-hospital mortality percentages.
Results: During 1991-2010, there were 188,597 admissions to hospitals in England with a primary diagnosis of burns. Annual numbers of admissions decreased between 1991 and 2002, followed by a steeper increase up to 2010. Rates were higher in males, in the age groups 0-4 and ≥85 years, and in persons from deprived areas of residence, most ethnic minorities, and urban areas. There were 3196 in-hospital deaths within 30 days of admission for burns between 1991 and 2010. Between 2000 and 2010, this mortality decreased from 1.99% to 0.91%. The highest rates of 30-day in-hospital deaths occurred in the elderly and the lowest in children.
Conclusion: Although in-hospital mortality from burns has decreased in recent years, if the recent upward trend in hospital admissions is genuine, it will have resource implications for regional burns units, and also suggests the need for a renewed emphasis on primary prevention. Observed inequalities with respect to age, gender, deprivation, ethnicity, and urban-rural status provide a rational basis for targeting primary prevention initiatives.
Keywords: 1991–2010; Admissions; Burns; England.
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