Burns in the extreme geriatric population

Dr Morgan Haines1, Dr  Aruna  Wijewardena1, Dr  Robert  Gates1

1Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards, Australia


Background: Patients aged over 85 are a growing population in the burns units of developed nations (Lumenta et al. 2008). This age group is highly susceptible to burns which are more severe than in younger patients (Albornoz et al. 2011). Methodology: A retrospective observational study conducted between 2013 to 2017 in the tertiary burns unit at Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney, Australia.

Results: 1570 patients were treated in total. 54 patients were aged 85  and over, median age 88 years. The majority of patients had scald burns. Mortality during admission was 7%. We also report parameters of post burn management such as the time to theatre, time to first graft, number of surgeries and number of outpatient visits. Discussion: Literature describing elderly burns outcomes most often includes patients ranging from approximately 65 years (Duke et al. 2015; Alboronz et al. 2011; Wibbenmeyer et al. 2001). However the extreme geriatric burns have issues and outcomes distinct to younger geriatrics (Jeschke et al. 2016; Shariff et al. 2015). The fact that this population group is rapidly expanding combined with our rate of in-hospital mortality of 7% indicates the need for relevant information that can guide clinical decisions.

Conclusion: There is a paucity in the data describing outcomes following extreme geriatric burns. To our knowledge, this is the largest study of burns focussing on the the extreme elderly. Our data describe up to date information on the epidemiology, aetiology and management of burns in patients aged over 85.


Dr Haines is a junior medical officer in the Severe Burns Unit at Royal North Shore Hospital. As a medical student Morgan was selected to join an Interplast surgical outreach team to Fiji. Morgan hopes to pursue a career in Burns and Plastic Surgery and has an interest in global surgery.


ANZBA is a not for profit organisation and the peak body for health professionals responsible for the care of the burn injured in Australia and New Zealand. ANZBA encourages higher standards of care through education, performance monitoring and research.

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