Wildfire burn patients: A unique population

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In the past 10 years, wildfires have burned an average of 6.8 million acres per year and this is expected to increase with climate change. Wildfire burn patient outcomes have not been previously well characterized. Wildfire burn patients from the Tubbs or Camp wildfires and non-wildfire burn-matched controls were identified from the burn center database and outcomes were compared. The primary outcome was mortality. Secondary outcomes included length of stay (LOS), intensive care unit (ICU) LOS, readmission, and development of wound infections. Time of presentation and operating room use after wildfires was evaluated. Sixteen wildfire burn patients were identified and matched with 32 controls. Wildfire burn patients trended toward higher mortality (19% wildfire vs 9% non-wildfire, P =. 386), longer LOS (18 days wildfire vs 15 days non-wildfire, P =. 406), longer ICU LOS (17 days wildfire vs 11 days non-wildfire, P =. 991), increased readmission (19% wildfire vs 3% non-wildfire, P =. 080), and higher rates of wound infection (31% wildfire vs 19% non-wildfire, P =. 468). The majority of wildfire patients (88%) presented within 24 hours of the wildfire reaching a residential area. Operating room time within the first week was 13 hours 44 minutes for the Tubbs Fire and 19 hours 1 minute for the Camp Fire. Patients who sustain burns in wildfires are potentially at increased risk of mortality, prolonged LOS, wound infection, and readmission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)905-910
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Burn Care and Research
Volume42
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Rehabilitation

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