U.K. Military Burns 2008–2013
Epidemiology of U.K. Military Burns 2008–2013
After sustaining burn injuries overseas, U.K. Armed Forces personnel are evacuated to the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine. The objective was to review the etiology of U.K. Military burns managed at the center between 2008 and 2013. Analysis will aid provision planning and assist in the prevention of burn injuries for future tours. The International Burn Injury Database database of all U.K. Armed Forces burn injured patients evacuated to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Birmingham between 2008 and 2013 were reviewed retrospectively. Analysis included patient demographics, injury mechanism, burn severity, management, and mortality. There were 65 military personnel with burn injuries requiring repatriation to the United Kingdom. Percentage of 78.5 were sustained in Afghanistan. The mean age was 25 (18–46) years. Percentage of 70.8 were considered noncombat burn injuries. Of the noncombat burns, the mechanism of injury most commonly involved burning waste and misuse of fuels and scalds.
|Improvised explosive device||10|
|Unintentional detonation of ammunition||3|
|Rocket propelled grenade||2|
|Mini-flare fired into face||1|
|Explosion during training||1|
|Thermal injury from fired bullet||1|
|White phosphorus flame burn||1|
|Misuse of fuel||11|
"...One fifth of all patients sustained associated injuries, of which 88.3% were personnel with combat burns. Associated injuries included complex fractures,
tympanic injuries, ophthalmic injury, spinal injury, lung contusions, a gunshot wound to the upper limb and a gunshot wound causing an intracranial hemorrhage. One patient required bilateral lower limb amputations. In addition, two patients sustained an associated inhalation injury..."
The mean TBSA for all patients was 6% (0.05–51%). Areas most commonly affected included arms, legs, and face. The length of hospital stay for combat vs noncombat burn injury patients was 10 vs 7 days. There were no fatalities. In conclusion, substantially fewer military personnel sustained combat burns between 2008 and 2013 than in preceding study period (19 vs 79). The number of accidental noncombat burns remained constant. The decrease in combat burns may reflect a relative decrease in military intensity and effective protective equipment and safety measures. Further education may allow for an additional decrease in preventable burn injuries.