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Changing the Way We Think About Burn Size Estimation.

Changing the Way We Think About Burn Size Estimation.

Changing the Way We Think About Burn Size Estimation.

J Burn Care Res. 2018 Sep 21;:

Authors: Pham C, Collier Z, Gillenwater J

Background: Burn size estimation is a crucial component of acute burn management that guides referral to burn centers, fluid resuscitation parameters, hospital resource distribution, and mortality-based interventions. Referring providers often misestimate the total body surface area (TBSA) of burn injury, which contributes to unnecessary healthcare costs, misappropriation of limited resources, and delay in provision of appropriate patient care.
Methods: A systematic literature review of articles available on PubMed, Scopus, Google Scholar, OvidSP Medline, and Web of Science was performed. All articles were evaluated in a standardized fashion by a panel of reviewers to assess applicability to the research question.
Results: Twenty-six relevant articles identified pervasive TBSA miscalculations ranging from 5% to 339% regardless of provider level with < 20% TBSA burns being disproportionately overestimated. This resulted in up to 77% of burns being inappropriately transferred to burn centers from referring hospitals. Improper use of TBSA estimation tools (palm, hand, Rule of 9s) without considering patient body mass index, race, age, and sex standards contributes to TBSA misestimation. Few studies with limited sample sizes argue that TBSA misestimations significantly affect fluid resuscitation volume, although the findings suggest that small burns (<20% TBSA) are over-estimated and over-resuscitated - the opposite of larger burns.
Conclusions: TBSA misestimation is associated with an increased incidence of inappropriate transfers to burn centers and the associated costs. The data remains lacking, however, and larger studies are required to further elucidate the clinical impact of such errors. A systematic approach with telemedicine-facilitated computer-based burn assessments is required.

PMID: 30247559 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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