AHRQ Stats: Treatment of Burn-Related Injuries
Between 1993 and 2013, rates of burn-related hospital stays decreased 35 percent while burn-related emergency department visits declined 17 percent. Infants had the highest rates of burn-related hospital stays and emergency department visits in 2013. (Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Statistical Brief #217: Burn-Related Hospital Inpatient Stays and Emergency Department Visits, 2013.)
Kimberly W. McDermott, Ph.D., Audrey J. Weiss, Ph.D., and Anne Elixhauser, Ph.D.
Burns are tissue damage caused by heat, sunlight, electricity, chemicals, or nuclear radiation.1 In the United States approximately 9,000 people died from burn-related injuries in the mid-1970s.2 At that time, burns covering more than 20 percent of a patient's body were nearly always fatal.3 Forty years later, the number of burn-related deaths has declined by more than 50 percent and patients with burns covering up to 90 percent of their bodies can survive with appropriate treatment.4
Although treatment options and prognoses for burn-related injuries have improved dramatically, the frequency of burn-related injuries and the cost of treatment remain high. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 486,000 patients received emergency medical treatment for burns in 2011.5 Estimated medical costs associated with burn-related injuries in 2010 totaled approximately $1.5 billion, with another nearly $5 billion in costs associated with lost work.6
This Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) Statistical Brief updates a previously published Brief7 and presents data on burn-related hospital inpatient stays and emergency department (ED) visits. Inpatient stays are based on all-listed diagnoses. ED visits are also based on all-listed diagnoses and comprise patients who were treated in the ED and then released from the ED, transferred to another hospital or health facility, or died in the ED. Patients who were treated in the ED and then admitted to the same hospital for inpatient services are included under statistics reported for inpatient stays. This Statistical Brief provides information on the following:
- Trends in the population rate of burn-related inpatient stays and ED visits
- Population rates for burn-related inpatient stays and ED visits in 2013 for select patient characteristics
- Distributions of burn-related inpatient stays and ED visits in 2013 by burn site and severity
- Most common causes and procedures associated with burn-related inpatient stays and ED visits in 2013
- Utilization characteristics of burn-related inpatient stays in 2013
Differences in estimates of 10 percent or greater are noted in the text.
Trends in burn-related hospital inpatient stays and ED visits
Figure 1 provides information on the trend in the population rate of hospital inpatient stays involving burns from 1993 through 2013.