Risk factors for nosocomial infections and/or sepsis in adult burns patients: An integrative review

Intensive Crit Care Nurs. 2022 Dec;73:103292. doi: 10.1016/j.iccn.2022.103292. Epub 2022 Jul 22.


Background: In comparison to general trauma patients, loss of skin barrier amongst the burns cohort predisposes them to a higher risk of nosocomial infections and sepsis, and this often leads to unfavourable morbidity and mortality outcomes.

Purpose: This integrative review aimed to explore existing literature to identify risk factors related to nosocomial infections and/or sepsis in adult burns patients following hospital admission.

Methods: Electronic searches for journals published between 2007 and 2021 were performed in CINAHL, Scopus and Medline, and key journals were hand-searched. Inclusion criteria was: (1) peer-reviewed, primary studies; (2) qualitative, quantitative or mixed-methods studies; (3) study participants had sustained burns-related injury and developed nosocomial infections and/or sepsis during the course of hospitalisation. Studies were appraised using the Critical Appraisal Skill Program checklists.

Results: 15 studies ranging from 'poor' to 'fair' to 'moderate' quality were included in the final review. Patient factors that contributed to the development of nosocomial infections and/ or sepsis included: (1) Full thickness burns; (2) age; (3) % Total Burns Surface Area; and (4) Herpes Simplex Virus activation. Several provider-system risk factors were identified by 'poor' quality studies and further research is required to substantiate those findings.

Discussion: Findings remained inconclusive due to the lack of 'good' quality studies however, there was an overemphasis on patient-related risk factors instead of healthcare workers or the system. Future research may focus on activation of the latest infection prevention strategies and early enforcement of care bundles. Through identification of related risk factors, it may reduce the incidence of nosocomial infection and/or sepsis post-burns.

Keywords: Adult; Burns; Healthcare Associated Infection; Nosocomial Infections; Risk factors; Sepsis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross Infection* / complications
  • Cross Infection* / epidemiology
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • Sepsis* / complications