Article Title

Epidemiology of burn injury in older adults: An Australian and New Zealand perspective


Introduction: The ageing global population presents a novel set of challenges for trauma systems. Less research has focused on the older adult population with burns and how they differ compared to younger patients. This study aimed to describe, and compare with younger peers, the number, causes and surgical management of older adults with burn injuries in Australia and New Zealand.

Methods: The Burns Registry of Australia and New Zealand was used to identify patients with burn injuries between 1 July 2009 and 31 December 2018. Temporal trends in incidence rates were evaluated and categorised by age at injury. Patient demographics, injury severity and event characteristics, surgical intervention and in-hospital outcomes were investigated.

Results: There were 2394 burn-injured older adults admitted during the study period, accounting for 13.4% of adult admissions. Scalds were the most common cause of burn injury in older adults. The incidence of older adult burns increased by 2.96% each year (incidence rate ratio = 1.030, 95% confidence interval = 1.013–1.046, P < 0.001). Compared to their younger peers, a smaller proportion of older adult patients were taken to theatre for a surgical procedure, though a larger proportion of older adults received a skin graft.

Discussion: Differences in patient and injury characteristics, surgical management and in-hospital outcomes were observed for older adults. These findings provide the Australian and New Zealand burn care community with a greater understanding of burn injury and their treatments in a unique group of patients who are at risk of poorer outcomes than younger people.


burns, older adults, Australia, New Zealand, burn database, scald

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