October 16, 2001

UCSD Regional Burn Center Releases 2000 Burn Statistics


Burn Center LogoThe UCSD Regional Burn Center released its annual statistical report today on people from San Diego and Imperial counties admitted to the Burn Center from January through December 2000. The 440 pediatric and adult patients reflected in the 2000 Burn Center census annual report, ranging in age from four months to 93, were admitted to the Burn Center for burn injuries and smoke inhalation. The 2000 statistics show a 5% increase in burn patients from the previous year, but the lowest mortality rate, since 1996, with only eight deaths.

Males accounted for 72.5% of admissions, compared to 27.5% for females. The majority of burns occurred in adults, with 285 admissions of individuals between ages 18-65, an increase of 24 patients from 2000. Twenty patients over age 65 were admitted.

Infants to three-year-olds constituted 75 admissions, an increase of 18 patients from 1999. Children between 4 and 12 accounted for 33 admissions. The teen population ages 12 to 18 had 27 admissions, an increase of 15 patients from 1999. For each group, injuries primarily involved home accidents, with most of those in the two youngest groups involving cooking and scalding accidents. Contact with hot objects such as curling irons and clothing irons, hot coals, “popper” fireworks, gasoline, gunpowder and barbecues are also common causes of burn accidents in young children. These accidents frequently result in third-degree burns, the most serious form of burn, often requiring skin grafting.

“This is an opportunity to remind people that most of the burn injuries to young children occur in the home and involve hot liquids or accidents during cooking,” said Daniel D. Lozano, M.D., Director of Clinical Care, UCSD Regional Burn Center. “To prevent these accidents, which happen quickly and are often quite serious, younger children in particular should not be in the kitchen during cooking, and hot liquids should be kept out of reach.”

The frequency of burn injuries to children as a result of direct contact with fire and flames declined again this year, to 21.3%. In 1997, 14 patients injured were by fire, representing 46% of the injuries. Six of them were playing with fireworks in the form of “poppers.” This year only two injuries were the result of firecrackers, with one child suffering a 3rd degree burn which required skin grafting.

Fire and flame produced the highest percent of injuries in the adolescent age group, including careless behavior with dangerous materials, such as gasoline, lighters and rocket fuel. Four resulted from fireworks/explosives. Contact with hot objects, including fire pits and hot coals, was the second highest cause of injury. There were no injuries related to fireworks in 1999.

The largest percentage of injuries in adults ages 18 to 35 was from direct fire and flames, with contact-related injuries being the next most common cause of burns. Nearly 60% of the 17 contact injuries occurred from fire pits. The majority of adults ages 30 to 65 were burned in the home (52%), but 26% of injuries occurred in the work place, in addition to injuries incurred during recreational activities, including burn injuries occurring in the home related to propane or natural gas explosions. Most common causes of injury were fire-related, scalding and contact injuries.

The 20 patients over 65 were nearly all injured at home and for the most part were injured while doing routine household activities and cooking. Three were related to fires caused by smoking.

Hispanic patients are disproportionately represented in younger age groups, accounting for 50% of admissions under age 18. Caucasians represent the largest group of adult admissions.

The UCSD Regional Burn Center was established in 1973 to provide specialized medical care and rehabilitation for severely burned patients. In the past 28 years, the Burn Center has treated thousands of patients. The Center, with its eighteen-bed inpatient facility, outpatient clinic and additional research and patient care resources, is the only comprehensive burn program in San Diego and Imperial counties.

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Media Contact:
Eileen Callahan

UCSD Health Sciences Communications HealthBeat: http://health.ucsd.edu/news/