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A 12 months audit of burns admitted to one surgical unit at the University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka, Zambia
  1. R E Mtonga*
  1. Correspondence Mthunzi Medical Centre, P.O BOX 31456, Fern Groove, Lusaka 10101, Zambia


Summary Burns occasioned by open flames and hot fluids affecting all ages, gender and socio-economic classes are commonly seen at the University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka, Zambia.

The outcome of burns management is a function of the standard of care and host factors in the victims.

Internal causes of mortality arising from burns include infections, dehydration, percentage of burns, malnutrition, hypovolemic shock among others.

Method This was a retrospective study using existing Hospital Records of Patients who were admitted to one of the 8 Surgical Units January and December 2005.

Simple statistical methods were used to analyse the data.

Results The average percentage of body surface affected was 24.8%.

17 (18.3%)of the 93 burns admissions resulted in deaths. The age range was 6 months to 54 years with 14 years as the average.

11 (64.7%) of the deaths occurred in Children under 5 years.

11 (64.7%) were males while 6 (35.3%) were females.

Hot water caused 7 (58.3%) of the burns while 6 (41.7%) were occasioned by open flames.

The internal causes of death were wound sepsis hypovolemic shock (as result of dehydration) and, malnutrition.

All body sites were affected, especially limbs and the anterior trunk.

6 (37.5%) of the mortality cases had partial thickness burns. 5 (31.2%) had no classification, 4 (25%) had mixed burns while 1 (6.2%) had full thickness burns.

Discussions/conclusions Burns are a common cause of mortality and male children were mainly affected.

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