Article

[Heated car seats--a potential burn risk for paraplegics].

Klinik für Plastische Chirurgie, Hand- und Verbrennungschirugie, Universitätsklinikum RWTH Aachen.
Der Nervenarzt (Impact Factor: 0.8). 03/2006; 77(2):201-3. DOI: 10.1007/s00115-005-1960-3
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The comfort of heated car seats has gained popularity worldwide. We present a rare case of severe second- and third-degree burn in the lower back and sacral region of a 42-year-old post-traumatic paraplegic patient while using a heated car seat. The patient was admitted to our burn unit and required several reconstructive surgery procedures. Inadvertent thermal injury is a constant potential hazard for individuals with impaired sensibility such as paraplegics and other neurologically impaired patients. Early education of patients, manufacturers, and health care personnel is of eminent importance to prevent severe burn injuries in this risk population.

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    ABSTRACT: Heated car seats are a common feature in newer automobiles. They are increasingly being recognized as potential hazards as there have been multiple reports of significant burns to its users. The potential for harm is considerably increased in those with impaired sensation with the possibility of a devastating injury. Case report and literature review. A 26-year-old male with a T8 ASIA A paraplegia presented to the outpatient clinic for management of a hip burn. Two weeks prior to his visit he was driving a 2004 Jeep Cherokee for approximately 30 minutes. He was unaware that the driver's side seat warmer was set on high. He denied that his seat belt was in direct contact with the skin of his right hip. He presented to an acute care hospital that evening with a hip burn where he was prescribed silver sulfadiazine cream and instructed to apply it until his scheduled follow-up clinic visit. In clinic, the hip wound was unstageable with approximately 95% eschar. A dressing of bismuth tribromophenate in petrolatum was applied to the wound and he was instructed to change the dressing daily. This was later changed to an antimicrobial alginate dressing. The ulcer eventually healed. This case illustrates the significant risk of car seat heaters in individuals with spinal cord injuries or neurological impairment who have decreased sensation. Additionally, it highlights an atypical area of potential for burn. Furthermore, it emphasizes the need for a heightened awareness for this unique and dangerous situation.
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