Thermal injury in patients with seizure disorders: An opportunity for prevention

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Journal of Burn Care and Research


Serious burn injuries are a potential threat to patients with seizure disorder. There are limited studies addressing this issue. Therefore, a retrospective study was undertaken with two goals: one to develop better understanding of this potential threat and two to create a prevention message regarding seizure-related burns. The burn center registry was reviewed to ascertain the number of patients who sustained burn injury during or directly after a seizure from 2000 to 2005. Thirty-two patients were admitted (44% female, 56% male) with mean age of 39 years (SD ± 10.4) after sustaining a burn during or after a seizure. Average TBSA was 8.3% (SD ± 4.8) with 72% of patients experiencing full-thickness burns. The three most prevalent etiologies were falling into a stove while cooking (34%; n = 11), falling on hot pavement (31%; n = 10), and falling into a campfire (9%; n = 3). A full 88% of patients (n = 28) reported a previous diagnosis of seizure disorder, whereas the other 9% (n = 3) reported seizures related to alcohol consumption. Laboratory reports revealed 20 patients (63%) had subtherapeutic levels of antiseizure medication, 1 patient (3%) had toxic levels, and 5 patients (16%) were not being treated for seizures. Upon discharge, 23 patients went home with family, 5 were discharged to skilled nursing, 1 to a homeless shelter, 1 died, and 2 patients were lost to follow-up. Because of the severe burns observed in epileptic burn patients, a burn-prevention brochure was developed and is being distributed to seizure patients and their families. © 2007 The American Burn Association.

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