Effect of inhalation injury, burn size, and age on mortality: a study of 1447 consecutive burn patients

J Trauma. 1994 Oct;37(4):655-9. doi: 10.1097/00005373-199410000-00021.


The relative impact of inhalation injury, burn size, and age on overall outcome following burn injury was examined in 1447 consecutive burn patients over a five and a half year period. The overall mortality for all patients was 9.5% (138 of 1447). The presence of inhalation injury, increasing burn size, and advancing age were all associated with an increased mortality (p < 0.01). The incidence of inhalation injury was 19.6% (284 of 1447) and correlated with increasing percent total body surface area (%TBSA) burn (r = 0.41, p < 0.01) and advancing age (r = 0.15, p < 0.01). The overall mortality for patients with inhalation injury was 31% (88 of 284) compared with 4.3% (50 of 1163) for those without inhalation injury. Using multivariate analysis inhalation injury was found to be an important variable in determining outcome, but the most important factor in predicting mortality was %TBSA burn (accuracy = 92.8%) or a combination of %TBSA burn and patient age (accuracy = 93.0%). Adding inhalation injury only slightly improved the ability to predict mortality (accuracy = 93.3%). The presence of inhalation injury is significantly associated with mortality after thermal injury but adds little to the prediction of mortality using %TBSA and age alone.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Body Surface Area*
  • Burns / mortality*
  • Burns / pathology*
  • Burns, Inhalation / mortality
  • Burns, Inhalation / pathology
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Sensitivity and Specificity