Electrical burns, although less prevalent, are devastating injuries and are associated with high morbidity and mortality. This study assessed the socio-demographic characteristics, complications, surgical interventions and outcomes among electrical burn victims.
From 2013 to 2018, patients who suffered from electric burns and were admitted to Burns Unit, Department of Plastic Surgery, Kasturba Hospital, Manipal, India were enrolled. The demographic data, as well as details regarding mode of injury, percentage of burns, specific areas injuries, complications, surgical treatment options utilized and treatment outcomes were recorded using a semi-structured questionnaire. The patients were followed up till 3 months post discharge.
The majority of electrical burn victims were men (99.0%) and were in the age group of 18-40 years (70.4%). Unskilled labourers (56.8%) were most commonly affected followed by employed linemen or electricians (29.6%) and farmers (11.1%). Highest proportion (81.0%) had involvement of less than 20% of their total body surface area. Occurrence of infections (41.9%) was the most common complication. Myoglobinuria (19.7%), amputations (18.5%), compartment syndrome (14.8%), and peripheral nerve injuries (13.5%) were recorded. Totally, 18.5% were reported with certain complications, 9.9% of them required neurosurgical interventions and 3.7% required active psychiatric interventions.
Most of the young men in their economically productive age group were affected with electrical burn injuries. Ensuring the work safety measures and education about the dangers and hazards associated with electrical equipment and infrastructure as well as their proper handling are vital.