Research

Mortality in paediatric burns victims: A retrospective review from 2009 to 2012 in a single centre

Ben Jugmohan, Jerome Loveland, Linda Doedens, Rachel L Moore, Ansie Welthagen, Christopher James Westgarth-Taylor

Abstract


Background. Childhood mortality is high in low- and middle-income countries. Burns are one of the five leading causes of childhood injury mortality in South Africa (SA). While there is an abundance of literature on burns in the developed world, there are far fewer publications dealing with childhood mortality related to burns in Africa and SA.

Objective. To describe the mortality of children admitted to a dedicated paediatric burns unit, and investigate factors contributing to reducing mortality.

Methods. A retrospective review was performed of patients admitted to the Johnson and Johnson Paediatric Burns Unit, Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, Johannesburg, SA, between May 2009 and April 2012.

Results. During the study period, 1 372 patients aged ≤10 years were admitted to the unit. There were 1 089 admissions to the general ward and 283 admissions to the paediatric burns intensive care unit (PBICU). The overall mortality rate was 7.9% and the rate for children admitted to the PBICU 29.3%; 90.8% of deaths occurred in children aged ≤5 years. Of children admitted with an inhalational injury, 89.5% died. No child with a burn injury >60% of total body surface area (TBSA) survived.

Conclusions. Our overall mortality rate was 7.9%, and the rate declined significantly over the 3-year study period from 11.7% to 5.1%. Age ≤5 years, the presence of inhalational injury, burn injury >30% of TBSA and admission to the PBICU were significant risk factors for mortality.

Authors' affiliations

Ben Jugmohan, Department of Paediatric Surgery, Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital and Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

Jerome Loveland, Department of Paediatric Surgery, Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital and Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

Linda Doedens, Department of Paediatric Critical Care, Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital and Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

Rachel L Moore, Department of Paediatric Surgery, Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital and Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

Ansie Welthagen, Department of Paediatric Surgery, Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital and Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

Christopher James Westgarth-Taylor, Department of Paediatric Surgery, Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital and Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Keywords

Burns; Paediatric burns; Critical care

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2016;106(2):189-192. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2016.v106i2.8942

Article History

Date submitted: 2014-09-21
Date published: 2016-01-08

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