Patients hospitalized for burn injuries in New York have comparable outcomes at major burn centers
A patient treated for burns at any of nine high-volume New York hospitals (facilities that treat more than 100 hospitalized burn patients annually) have very similar death rates, after adjusting for other factors, according to a new study. Each year, 40,000 people in the United States are hospitalized for burn injuries and 1,000 of them die from their injuries. Most burn patients are treated at specialized hospital burn centers. This study of burn patients hospitalized between 2004 and 2008 found that nine high-volume hospitals cared for 83 percent (10,878) of the State's burn patients; the remaining 185 hospitals cared for 2,235 patients (an average of 8 burn patients a year each).
The overall mortality rate in New York State for patients hospitalized with burns was 3.2 percent for this period (3.7 percent in the high-volume hospitals, 1.0 percent in the low-volume hospitals). Although crude mortality rates at the high-volume hospitals ranged from 2-6.5 percent, after adjusting for other factors affecting likelihood of dying, the mortality rates were similar at 1 percent among all the centers. When the remaining low-volume hospitals were treated as a single "hospital," the adjusted mortality rates was 0.43. This confirmed the researchers' suspicion that the low-volume hospitals were only treating less serious burn cases.
The researchers used data from the New York State Statewide Planning and Research Cooperative System, but excluded patients with nonthermal burn injuries due to lightning and electrical or chemical accidents. This study was funded in part by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS16737).
More details are in "Comparison of hospital mortality rates after burn injury in New York State: A risk-adjusted population-based observational study," by Turner Osler, M.D., M.Sc., Laurent G. Glance, M.D., and David W. Hosmer, Ph.D., in the October 2011 Journal of Trauma® Injury, Infection, and Critical Care 71(4), pp. 1040-1047.
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