Study of paediatric thermal, burns: presentation, causes and management as seen in Kenyatta National Hospital
A prospective study of 101 paediatric bum patients aged 3 weeks to 12 years was carried out at Kenyatta National Hospital's (KNH) Ward 4D, Bums Unit and Intensive Care Unit (K'U) to assess the demographic pattern and common complications. Methodology: Patients were recruited over a 3 month and 1 week period between 26/812003 and 2112/2003, according to set criteria. Each patient was followed till either discharge or for a minimum of 4 weeks for the 8 patients still in the ward at the time of conclusion of study. Data was entered into a questionnaire and analysed. Results: 71.3% of all patients were aged less than 3 years with a mean age of34.45 months. Pre-school children were 71.3% and males accounted for 55.4%, with a male to female ratio of 1.24:1. Many of the patients came from families living in single rooms (53.5%) and most of the immediate care takers ofthe children had formal education (96%). Most of the patients' relatives (35.7%) earned between Kshs. 4000-6000 per month. Scalds accounted for the majority ofthe bums or 69.3% with open flame accounting for 26.7%. 93.1% of the bums occurred at home around early morning and evening; and splash bums are the commonest form of scald bums seen in this hospital. Patients with suspected inhalation injuries were 10.9%. The commonest complication encountered was bum wound infection accounting for 71.3% of all patients admitted and 3 patients (3%) died over the study period. Only thirty seven patients (36.6%) underwent skin grafting. No early tangenital excision and skin grafting was done. All 101 patients (100%) were put on analgesics and 98% on topical and lor systemic antibiotics. Conclusion: Thermal bums in children commonly occurs at home, with majority sustaining splash injuries. Improving the social economic status of the people can prevent them and adherence to the building code can greatly reduce the incidence of paediatric bums.