Nonmedical Factors Influencing Early Deaths in Burns: A Study of the National Burn Repository.J Burn Care Res. 2020 Jan 30; 41(1):3-7.JB
It is well-established that survival in burn injury is primarily dependent on three factors: age, percent total-body surface area burned (%TBSA), and inhalation injury. However, it is clear that in other (nonburn) conditions, nonmedical factors may influence mortality. Even in severe burns, patients undergoing resuscitation may survive for a period of time before succumbing to infection or other complications. In some cases, though, families in conjunction with caregivers may choose to withdraw care and not resuscitate patients with large burns. We wanted to investigate whether any nonmedical socioeconomic factors influenced the rate of early deaths in burn patients. The National Burn Repository (NBR) was used to identify patients that died in the first 72 hours after injury and those that survived more than 72 hours. Both univariate and multivariate regression analyses were used to examine factors including age, gender, race, comorbidities, burn size, inhalation injury, and insurance type, and determine their influence on deaths within 72 hours. A total of 133,889 burn patients were identified, 1362 of which died in the first 72 hours. As expected, the Baux score (age plus burn size), and inhalation injury predicted early deaths. Interestingly, on multivariate analysis, patients with Medicare (p = .002), self-pay patients (p < .001), and those covered by automobile policies (p = .045) were significantly more likely to die early than those with commercial insurance. Medicaid patients were more likely to die early, but not significantly (p = .188). Worker's compensation patients were more likely to survive the first 72 hours compared with patients with commercial insurance (p < .001). Men were more likely to survive the early period than women (p = .043). On analysis by race, only Hispanic patients significantly differed from white patients, and Hispanics were more likely to survive the first 72 hours (p = .028). Traditional medical factors are major factors in early burn deaths. However, these results show that nonmedical socioeconomic factors including race, gender, and especially insurance status influence early burn deaths as well.