Vol. 57, No. 1, March 2012
Sri Lankans use kerosene oil, liquid petroleum (LP)
gas and firewood for domestic cooking. Firewood is
commonly used in rural areas. Urban and city dwellers
use LP gas and electric appliances for cooking, though
use of kerosene oil and firewood is not uncommon.
Domestic pressure cookers are used as an occasional
cooking utensil for special food items. Injuries related to
domestic pressure cooker burns are limited to case reports
During a period of 5 months from April 2010 to August
2010 there were 7 casualty admissions (5 females and 2
males) with domestic pressure cooker burns. All were
direct admissions from Colombo district. There were 2
steam burns and 5 scalds due to contact with hot water.
Though everyone had irrigation with water soon after the
accident, the duration was not adequate.
One patient refused inward treatment and others were
admitted for observation. All patients were irrigated with
running tap water for not less than 20 minutes. All had
facial burns and three got anterior neck burns. All burns
were superficial and superficial partial thickness burns,
with burn surface area of less than 1% to 4%.
Everyone was treated with application of 5%
povidone iodine ointment and liquid paraffin mixture over
burn wounds, starting from first day. None had involvement
of eyes or ears.
Patients were sent home after wound debridement.
Facial hair was trimmed or shaved and povidone iodine
and paraffin local application continued for 5 times a day
until healing completed. Open technique was used to
manage all burns.
Healing was complete by the 10th post burn day in
all patients. As there were no signs of infection, no
systemic antibiotics were used in any of the patients [3,4].
None had scarring or contractures, but developed
To the Editors:
A case series of domestic pressure cooker burns
Ceylon Medical Journal 2012; 57: 49
hyperpigmentation. Patients were convinced on the value
of avoiding sun exposure for a period of 3 months and
application of isotretinoin cream. Hyperpigmentation
improved gradually with topical therapy over a period of 3
Burns associated with the use of domestic pressure
cookers appear to be rising. Therefore advice regarding
the proper cooking technique is important for their
prevention. All seven patients were burnt due to premature
opening of the lid of the pressure cooker. The lid of the
pressure cooker should not be removed until the pressure
inside has been released completely. Trying to remove
the lid with force is not advisable as that indicates
presence of raised pressure inside the appliance. There
are 3 ways to release pressure. “Natural release method”
allows cooling over a period of 10 -20 minutes. “Manually
released method” using a pressure regulator is quicker
than the natural release method. “Cold water release
method” is the quickest and this includes taking the cooker
to a sink and irrigating with water. This method is not
recommended as it can cause contact burns.
Although there is no escape of steam once the
pressure is completely released, it is advisable not to keep
the face over the lid when opening it. Novices should take
special care as they are more prone for pressure cooker
1. Gundeslioglu AO, Yenidunya MO. Burn and mandibular
fracture due to pressure cooker explosion. Journal of
Craniofacial Surgery 2010; 21: 1631-3.
2. Sandhir RK, Sandhir M. Accidental pressure cooker lid blow-
out. Burns 1992; 18: 438.
3. Leon-Villapalos J, Jeschke MG, Horndon DN. Topical
management of facial burns. Burns 2008; 34: 903-9.
4. Ravat F, Le-Floch R, Vinsonneau C, et al. Antibiotics and
the burn patient. Burns 2011; 37: 16-26.
V A Perera1, K Karunadasa1, C Perera1
1Burns and Plastic Reconstruction Surgical Unit, National Hospital of Sri Lanka, Colombo.
Correspondence: VAP, e-mail: <email@example.com>. Received 28 April and revised version accepted 22 October
2011. Competing interests: none declared.