BACKGROUND: Low/middle-income countries carry a disproportionate burden of the morbidity and mortality from thermal burns. Nearly 70% of burn deaths worldwide are from thermal burns in India. Delays to medical care are commonplace and an important predictor of outcomes. We sought to understand the role of emergency medical services (EMS) as part of the healthcare infrastructure for thermal burns in India.METHODS: We conducted a prospective observational study of patients using EMS for thermal burns across five Indian states from May to August 2015. Our primary outcome was mortality at 2, 7 and 30 days. We compared observed mortality with expected mortality using the revised Baux score. We used Chi2 analysis for categorical variables and Wilcoxon two-sample test for continuous variables. ORs and 95% CIs are reported for all modelled predictor variables.RESULTS: We enrolled 439 patients. The 30-day follow-up rate was 85.9% (n=377). The median age was 30 years; 56.7% (n=249) lived in poverty; and 65.6% (n=288) were women. EMS transported 94.3% of patients (n=399) to the hospital within 2hours of their call. Median total body surface area (TBSA) burned was 60% overall, and 80% in non-accidental burns. Sixty-eight per cent of patients had revised Baux scores greater than 80. Overall 30-day mortality was 64.5%, and highest (90.2%) in women with non-accidental burns. Predictors of mortality by multivariate regression were TBSA (OR 7.9), inhalation injury (OR 5.5), intentionality (OR 4.7) and gender (OR 2.2).DISCUSSION: Although EMS rapidly connects critically burned patients to care in India, mortality remains high, with women disproportionally suffering self-inflicted burns. To combat the burn epidemic in India, efforts must focus on rapid medical care and critical care services, and on a burn prevention strategy that includes mental health and gender-based violence support services.
View details for PubMedID 30635272