Mechanism of injury and prognostic factors in patients treated for burns in Tasmania

Hugh Manifold1, Rebecca Schrale1, Andrew Castley1, Benjamin Howes1

1Royal Hobart Hospital, 48 Liverpool Street, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, 7000.


Percentage of body surface area (TBSA) represents an evaluation of burns patients aiding initial resuscitation therapy. The aim of this study was to explore the relationship between the mechanism of burn injury, TBSA and length of hospital stay (LOS).


This was a retrospective study of 409 patients (126 children, 283 adults) admitted to the Royal Hobart Hospital Burns Unit, Tasmania, between July 2010 and June 2014. Data was obtained from the Burns Registry of Australia and New Zealand and burn mechanism was compared to TBSA affected and LOS. Statistical calculations were performed using SPSS with significance level of 0.05.


The adult population had a higher proportion of flame burns (105/283) whereas the paediatric population had a higher proportion of scald burns (70/126).  In both adult and paediatric populations we found a correlation between burn mechanism and TBSA. Flame burns induced the highest average TBSA (5.4% adult, 4.4% paediatric, p < .001, r2 = .086). In the adult population there was a correlation between TBSA and LOS.

In the paediatric population there was a correlation between burn mechanism and LOS, and between mechanism and TBSA (p<0.001, r2 = 0.351), but no correlation between TBSA and LOS.


These findings support the hypothesis that flame burns are associated with a higher percentage of TBSA affecting the length of hospital admission. This evidence is relevant for medical professionals performing initial assessment of patients presenting to hospital with burn injuries.

Key Words

Burn, mechanism, flame, scald, TBSA, Tasmania, Australia, length of stay


Dr Hugh Manifold is a Resident Medical Officer working in the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery unit at the Royal Hobart Hospital. He completed a MBBS at the University of Tasmania in 2014 and has career aspirations in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Burns management.

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