Magnitude of electric burns at a burn center in tertiary level hospital
Background: Burns are a public health problem throughout the world. Electrical injury is a major cause of burn injury which causes significant functional disability, disfigurement and mortality. In Bangladesh, the number of electrical injuries are increasing but they are typically underreported.
Aims: This study was conducted to analyze the epidemiological variables of electrical burn injuries and identify preventable measures through them in Khulna region of Bangladesh.
Methods: This descriptive study is a prospective analysis of patients suffering from electrical burns admitted at Burn and plastic surgery department from July 2017 to June 2018. The study population consists of 68 patients who sustained electrical injuries irrespective of age and time with cutaneous burns, admitted at this Center. Patients with electrocution but no electrical cutaneous burn injuries were excluded from this study.
Results: Majority were males (77.94%) of working age and injuries were work related (52.94%) of which 32.36% were construction workers. The primary cause in majority of the cases (57.35%) was accidental direct contact with electric wire followed by secondary contact with electrical power lines by metal rods and electrification of different metallic equipments (42.64%). Most of the patients admitted were high voltage electrical injuries (54.42%). Among them 16.17% had severe electrical burns and 2.94% had associated traumatic injuries. There was a delay in time of injury to hospital admission, 35.29% arrived at the emergency room 8 or more hours after the injury. Most (63.24%) of the patients underwent surgery, majority of which had moderate to severe burns. Length of hospital stay was 3-102 days. Two patients (2.94%) died during this study period due to renal failure and septicaemia.
Conclusion: Most of the electric burn patients acquired injury at working place and primary cause was direct or secondary contact with powerline. Immediate preventive measures should be taken to reduce the incidence of electric burns.
Bang Med J (Khulna) 2018; 51 : 29-34