Trauma Mechanisms, Patterns of Injury, and Outcomes in a Retrospective Study of 71 Burns From Civil Gas Explosions

Department of Plastic, Hand and Reconstructive Surgery, Burn Center, Hannover Medical chool, Hannover 30625, Germany.
The Journal of trauma (Impact Factor: 2.96). 03/2010; 69(4):928-33. DOI: 10.1097/TA.0b013e3181ca03f7
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Although explosion injuries caused by terror attacks or in war are evaluated in many studies, limited information about civil explosion injuries can be found in the literature.
In a retrospective study of 71 civil gas explosion injuries treated in a single burn center during a 16-year period, we evaluated trauma mechanisms, patterns of injury, and clinical outcome.
More than 50% of all gas explosions injuries occurred in private households. The mortality correlated significantly with higher burned total body surface area (TBSA), higher abbreviated burn severity index (ABSI) score, accompanying inhalation injuries, and lung contusions. Although mean ABSI score and burned TBSA were similar in men and women (6 vs. 7 and 22% vs. 21%), the female mortality from gas explosions was noticeably higher, albeit not statistically significant due to small patient numbers (32% vs. 17%). Although mean burned TBSA, ABSI scores, and intensive care unit lengths of stay in patients with burns from gas explosions were comparable and not significantly different compared with all burn patients treated in our burn center (TBSA: 22% vs. 17%; ABSI: 6 vs. 6; and intensive care unit lengths of stay: 12 vs. 11 days), the mortality from gas explosions was significantly higher (21% vs. 12%, p = 0.04).
The mortality from gas explosion-related burns correlated significantly with burned TBSA, ABSI score, accompanying inhalation injuries, and lung contusions. Despite comparable ABSI scores, the mortality from gas explosion-related burns was significantly higher than the mortality for all burn victims.

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