Characteristics and risk factors of burn injuries in Chuk/Rwanda.
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Introduction: Bums are senous health problems associated with high mortality and morbidity. Bum deaths include bums from residential fires and scalds, clothing bums, industrial injuries, electrical injuries, among other sources of thermal energy. Aim: The aim of the study was to identify risk factors and describe characteristics of bum injuries in Rwanda. Ninety eight patients of all ages were selected and stratified by age, sex, bum size, causes of bum, and province of residence. Most of the patients (54.5%) were below the age of 12. Among children, 6% were aged between 0 and 11 months, 38% were aged between I and 5 years, 11% were between 13 and 21 years, 34% were adult between 22 and 49 years, and 3% were senior persons of above 50 years. The male population accounted for 55% of the total sample population, whereas the female population accounted for 41 %. Method: A quantitative retrospective descriptive survey was used in this study intended at reporting the characteristics and risk factors of bums in Rwanda. Results: The study finds a statistical correlation between gender and agent since 90% of contact bums occurred among the female population, although more male persons were affected by chemical bums (73%) in comparison to incidence among the female population (27%). Scalds were the most common type ofbum among children of 0 to 5 years of age as well as among adults. Flame bums predominated in older children. Large bum size was the strongest predictor of mortality. Among the twenty eight resultant deaths observed, twenty (71.4%) had a TBSA> 20%. Bum patients from rural areas had a higher mortality rate compared to patients that came from the urban context of the city of Kigali. The Southern Province recorded the highest mortality rate (l00%) followed by the Northern Province (62.5%) and the Eastern Province (45.4%). The city of Kigali has a mortality rate of 19%, notwithstanding its high frequency rate in terms of hospital admission (34.7%). Moreover, the study found that 25% of patients from the city of Kigali with major (more than 20%) TBSA recovered without disability, while none (0%) from the rural areas survived. Large bum size was the strongest predictor of mortality, followed by the rural factor (residence), and by the presence of inhalation injury. Infants and young children had the highest risk of death from bum injury. Bums smaller than 20% TBSA, without an inhalation injury (such as small scald injuries), are occasionally lethal in bums for both adults and children. Conclusion: The consequences of fire and bum injuries are so large and potentially devastating that efforts for their prevention should be proportionally much greater than reflected in mortality statistics. Some individuals feel that large bums are a worse fate than death (MacKenzie et al 1989). The scars of bum victims should remind us that prevention of these injuries must have high priority and attention now than they have had in the past.