Indian Journal of Public Health

: 2010  |  Volume : 54  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 27--29

A study on demographic and clinical profile of burn patients in an Apex Institute of West Bengal

Sumanta Chakraborty, Sukamal Bisoi, Dipankar Chattopadhyay, Raghunath Mishra, Nabanita Bhattacharya, Biswajit Biswas 
 Department of Community Medicine, Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research, Kolkata, India

Correspondence Address:
Sukamal Bisoi
Department of Community Medicine, I.P.G.M.E and R, Kolkata


Burn injuries constitute a major public health problem. A hospital-based descriptive observational study was conducted among 83 burn patients admitted in the Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research, Kolkata in 2008 to assess the demographic and clinical profile of burn patients and to study the medicolegal and social causes. Majority of patients were females (61.5%), literates (78.4%), hindus (79.5%) and in the age group of 20-39 years (56.6%). Occupation-wise housewives were 36.1% followed by students (16.8%).Majority of the cases (61.4%) were accidental whereas suicidal and homicidal cases were 18.1% and 20.5% respectively. According to the size 25.3% patients had 20% -39% of body surface burns and 21.7% had 80% or more burns. 53% of the cases were given blood transfusion and 23.5% died in the study period.

How to cite this article:
Chakraborty S, Bisoi S, Chattopadhyay D, Mishra R, Bhattacharya N, Biswas B. A study on demographic and clinical profile of burn patients in an Apex Institute of West Bengal.Indian J Public Health 2010;54:27-29

How to cite this URL:
Chakraborty S, Bisoi S, Chattopadhyay D, Mishra R, Bhattacharya N, Biswas B. A study on demographic and clinical profile of burn patients in an Apex Institute of West Bengal. Indian J Public Health [serial online] 2010 [cited 2020 Jul 14 ];54:27-29
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Full Text

Burn injuries occur universally and have adversely affected mankind since antiquity till the present day. In all societies burns constitute a serious medical and psychological problem. It has also severe economic and social consequences not only to the individuals, but also to their family and society in general [1] . In developing countries, the problem of burn injuries is more severe due to the reason that the care of burn patients requires specialized units that are expensive and not always readily available [2] . Burn injuries are a major public health problem due to its high mortality, morbidity and disability amongst young and middle-aged adults. Burn has also a social dimension. It may be associated with accidental, suicidal or homicidal causes.

In spite of such importance of burn both from clinical as well as social point of view, there is a dearth of research material on burn in India. Thus this short descriptive observational study had been undertaken to find out the material and social causes of burn and to assess the demographic and clinical profile and treatment outcome of burn patients in the Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research, Kolkata.

The Descriptive type of observational study was undertaken in July- August, 2008. The study population was 83 burn patients who remained admitted in the burn unit of the Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research (IPGME and R), Kolkata at any point of time during the two months study period. The data were collected by interview of patients and / or their relatives with the help of pre-designed and pre-tested schedule. The bed head tickets, admission register and the referral note were also reviewed.

Size of burn determined by Lund and Browder's chart [3] was obtained from bed-head ticket. Outcome variables were analyzed for 68 (81.9%) patients because 15 (18.1%) patients were still admitted in the hospital on expiry of the study period.

The medico legal aspects were obtained by interviewing the patients or their relatives with the help of the schedule and also by reviewing the relevant records like admission register and bed tickets.

Of 83 burn patients 61.5% were female, 56.6% were of 20-39 years age and 57.8% from rural area [Table 1]. 9.6% of patients were under- 5 children. Overall female predominance in our study conforms to some previous reports [1],[4],[5] . By occupation, 36.1% patients were house-wives, 12.1% unskilled workers like labourers, causal workers and maids. 10.8% were male skilled workers like mason, driver, farmer, carpenter, tailor etc. 78.4% patients were found to be literate [Table 1].{Table 1}

Considering the size of the burn, it was revealed that 25.30% patients had 20 to 39% burn. 80% or more burn was recorded in 21.7% patients. 3 cases of burn of 100% body surface area were also admitted. Majority of burn patients had initial treatment at other health care facilities before being referred to the Burn unit of I.P.G.M.E and R, Kolkata. 16 out of 68 i.e. 23.5% of the patients died in the study period. Most of the dead patients (75%) sustained grievous burn injuries (80-100%). 66.67% patients with 80-100% burn did not survive even in a most specialized setting. Death among patients with 60-79% burn was also unacceptably high (22.22%). Majority of the patients had died within 72 hours of sustaining burn injuries.

In a study on burn patients in Indore [4] , most deaths were associated with 3 rd degree flame burn. In a study of paediatric burn patients in Mumbai mortality rate was 10.4%. Mortality rate was more in patients with more than 40% burn [5] . It was observed that 76.47% of patients were discharged within the study period after completion of treatment. Another 18.07% burn patients were still admitted at the completion of the study period of 2 months.

In this study it was seen that blood transfusion was required mostly in burn patients with more than 50% body surface area burnt. Most patients (31.3%) were transfused less than 5 units of blood. More than 10 units were required in only 4.8% of patients. 47% burn patients were not given blood and it was found that either they had lesser degree of burn or they expired before blood could be arranged.

As regard to causes, electricity was the leading cause of burn among males while flame was by far the females. House-hold flame was responsible for 61.45% of all burn cases in this study as compared to 80.3% flame-burn in the Indore study [4] .

Thermal burns being most common type is also reported by most of the patients. Among the causes of thermal burns leading causes were kerosene stove (32.3%), open flame (23.1%), kerosene lamp (14.2%) and gas stove (5.7%). This is probably because kerosene is cheap and popular as a fuel [1] .

Of 83 burn cases, most of the cases were reportedly accidental (61.4%), followed by 20.5% homicidal and 18.1% suicidal [Table 2]. Among the accidental cases, most common social causes were - household work, principally cooking (27.5%) - mainly among females; playing in make- shift kitchen (23.5%) by children and electrical repair work by adults (17.7%).Other common causes being -touching live electric wire (4/51), lighting (3/51), performing puja etc.

Among homicidal burn, social conflict (35.3%) tops the list. Dowry deaths (29.4%) still pose a serious threat to our society and ranks close second among the causes of homicidal burns. Other causes were household quarrel (3/17) and put on fire (3/17).{Table 2}

Household quarrel (66.7%) is the most prevalent cause of suicidal burns followed by due to failure in examination (2/15) and mental depression due to indebtness (3/15).

Accidental burn leads both among males (90.63%) and females (43.14%). But suicidal (25.50%) and homicidal (31.36%) causes of burn were more among females. Accidents caused 61.45% of all burns in this study as compared to 67.7% in the study of burn patients in Indore [4] .

The mortality, morbidity and disability related to burn injuries can be prevented to a great extent by educating people about safety measures, implementing good health and safety regulations, legislations, proper appliance designing, prompt treatment of the cases of burns and appropriate referral services. The social aspect of burn could be taken care of by increasing literacy rates, empowering women, counseling, appropriate legislations and their proper implementation.


We are greately acknowledged to the ICMR for funding the study. None of the funding agencies were involved in implementation, data collection, analyses or authorization of publication. We are grateful to Dr (Prof) Bijoy Kumar Mazumder, head of the department of Plastic Surgery and Dr (Prof) Pradip Mitra, the director of IPGME and R, Kolkata for their kind cooperation and necessary permission for the study.


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