Hand burn influence on length of stay: A 20-year review of adult upper limb burn injury in Western Australia

Mr Evan Gow1,2, Associate Professor Katrina Spilsbury3, Dr Dale Edwick1,4, Dr Tiffany Grisbrook2, Professor Fiona Wood1,4,5, Associate Professor Dale Edgar1,3,4,6

1State Adult Burns Unit, Fiona Stanley Hospital, Murdoch, Australia, 2School of Physiotherapy, Curtin University, Bentley, Australia, 3Insitute for Health Research, The University of Notre Dame Australia, Fremantle, Australia, 4Fiona Wood Foundation, Fiona Stanley Hospital, Murdoch, Australia, 5Burn Injury Research Unit, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, Australia, 6Burn Injury Research Node, The University of Notre Dame Australia, Fremantle, Australia


Hand burns have been proposed as a factor which contributes to increased length of stay for burn patients admitted to hospital after their injury. This study aimed to describe the epidemiology of upper limb burns and to assess the relationship between hand involvement in upper limb burns on hospital length of stay (LOS). A retrospective single centre study of inpatients from the state adult burns service in Western Australia between 2000 and 2020 was conducted. Epidemiological data including age, gender, length of stay, hand involvement and clinical burn, management and complication characteristics were collected and analyzed. A total of 3,589 inpatients met the inclusion criteria, with a mean LOS of 9.3 Days. Univariate analysis showed no difference in age, total body surface area (TBSA), burn depth, or sign of infection between patients with and without hand involvement. However, those with hand burns had significantly longer length of stay, more likely to be male, indigenous, have sustained a burn elsewhere to the upper limb, be caused by flame and electrical agents, and require surgical intervention. Factors positively associated with length of stay included: Males, indigenous Australians, TBSA, flame and explosion mechanisms, burn depth, surgical management, signs of infection, and having burns elsewhere to the upper limb.  Multivariate analysis is ongoing, with preliminary results identifying the epidemiological and burn characteristics associated with length of stay in a hand burn population, which can assist with LOS prediction and resource allocation.


Evan Gow is a Physiotherapist at Fiona Stanley Hospital in Western Australia, having worked across State Adult Burns Unit and Intensive Care Unit. He is an Honors graduate from Curtin University.

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