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Burn Hospitalizations on the Rise

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AHRQ News and Numbers

Release date: January 31, 2007

Hospital admissions for burns rose by nearly 22 percent between 2000 and 2004—from 26,700 to 32,000—according to the latest News and Numbers summary from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The rise in admissions for burn care follows a 44-percent decline during the previous 7 years.

AHRQ found that:

  • Nearly one in five admissions resulted from people being burned by a hot liquid, such as cooking oil, or scalded by hot vapors such as steam.
  • Burns from gasoline, lighter fluid, and other highly flammable products accounted for the next largest share of admissions (13 percent); followed by burns from electrical appliances (10 percent); scalding by boiling tap water (5 percent); and chemical burns from acids and caustic or corrosive products (4 percent).
  • Nearly two of every three burn admissions involved patients younger than 45 years of age. Patients under age 18 accounted for 27 percent of admissions, while 18-to-44 year olds made up 38 percent. The elderly accounted for the smallest share of admissions (12 percent).
  • The average hospital stay for burn care cost hospitals almost twice the average for all other conditions ($17,300 compared with $9,000). Hospital care for burn victims cost hospitals a total of $573 million in 2004.

This AHRQ News & Numbers summary is based on data in Hospitalizations Stays for Burns, 2004, HCUP Statistical Brief No. 25. The report uses statistics from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, a database of hospital inpatient stays that is nationally representative of inpatient stays in all short-term, non-Federal hospitals. The data are drawn from hospitals that comprise 90 percent of all discharges in the United States and include all patients, regardless of insurance type, as well as the uninsured.

To speak with the author of this report, or for information from previous AHRQ News and Numbers summaries, contact Bob Isquith at or call (301) 427-1539.

Current as of January 2007


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