Background Burns affect approximately 500 000 persons each year in France (65 million inhabitants). At the national level, this issue is poorly investigated, although previous studies have been performed at a local level.
Objective To determine demographic characteristics, incidence and risk factors of hospitalised burned patients for the whole country.
Method The 2008 data from the French Hospital Information System were analyzed, for all patients hospitalised for burns.
Results A total of 12 778 hospitalisations for burns was registered in 2008. The majority of hospitalised patients (63%) were male, and the age distribution showed peaks occurring in the 0–4 and 20–49 age groups (33% each group). The mean age was 27 years. In 41% of cases, patients were hospitalised in specialized Burns Units. Smoke inhalation, a total burn surface area over 30%, and third-degree burns accounted for 13% of all hospitalisations. There were some seasonal variations in hospital admissions: burns were more frequent during summer (28%). The average length of hospital stay was 7.5 days. The overall annual rate of burns admission was 14.5/100 000, and showed geographical differences: admissions were more frequent in the North-East than in other parts of the country. One-hundred-ninety-four patients died, representing a lethality rate of 1.5%.
Conclusion This study is an example of the epidemiological usefulness of administrative hospitalisation data describing the characteristics of burned patients. Prevention measures for reducing the risk of burn injuries are required, especially for parents with young children.
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