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Pediatric electrical burns: management strategies

M Zubair, G E Besner
Burns: Journal of the International Society for Burn Injuries 1997, 23 (5): 413-20
The purpose of the present study was to analyse the course of patients hospitalised with electrical burn wounds in the past 25 years at a major children's hospital in the United States in order to devise safe and cost effective management strategies for these patients. The study was a retrospective chart review of patients with electrical injuries admitted to the hospital between 1971 and 1995. We identified 127 children who were included in the study. Injuries resulted from biting an electrical cord (oral injury) (n = 48), placing an object into an electrical socket (outlet injury) (n = 33), contacting a low voltage wire or appliance indoors (low voltage household injury) (n = 25), contacting a high voltage wire outdoors (high voltage wire injury) (n = 18), or being struck by lightning (n = 3). A retrospective review revealed that the great majority of patients with low voltage electrical injuries did not need admission to the hospital and could have been cared for on an outpatient basis. Almost every patient with high voltage injury had a justified admission due to the severity of the injury. On the basis of these results we conclude that we can safely reduce the number of admissions to the hospital for children with low voltage minor electrical injuries.


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