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Management of electrical and chemical burns in children

Hanna Alemayehu, Amanda Tarkowski, Jeffrey J Dehmer, David W Kays, Shawn D St Peter, Saleem Islam
Journal of Surgical Research 2014, 190 (1): 210-3

BACKGROUND: Pediatric electrical and chemical burns are rare injuries, and the care of these patients varies significantly. We reviewed our experience in management of electrical and chemical burns to analyze the clinical course, management, and outcomes.

METHODS: A retrospective review was conducted on children with chemical and electrical burns presenting to two large regional pediatric burn centers over a 10-y period (2002-2012). Clinical data including patient demographics, nature of burns, management, and outcomes were collected and analyzed.

RESULTS: There were 50 cases, 25 chemical and electrical burns each. Overall, the mean±standard deviation age was 6.2±5.6 y, and the mean total body surface area burn was 4.3±3.2%. Chemical burns were larger, had less depth, and shorter length of stay, whereas electrical burns were smaller, deeper, and had a longer length of stay. Two chemical burns and six electrical burns required grafting. Twelve percent of electrical burns required rehabilitation, and 20% required compression garments for hypertrophic scars. Six percent required late surgeries.

CONCLUSIONS: Pediatric electric and chemical burns are rare and require specialized care. Graft rates are not high but are mostly noted in electrical burns.


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