An Analysis of Factors Associated with Burn Injury Outcomes in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

Caitlin Jacobs*, Jonathan Vacek, Benjamin Many, Megan Bouchard, Fizan Abdullah

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: Burn injuries are a major cause of morbidity and mortality within low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The World Health Organization developed the Global Burn Registry to centralize data collection for the guidance of burn prevention programs. This study analyzed the epidemiologic and hospital-specific factors associated with burn injury outcomes in LMICs and high-income countries (HICs). Methods: A retrospective review was performed using the Global Burn Registry over 3 y. Patients were stratified by income region. Bivariate analyses and stepwise regressions were performed to evaluate patient and hospital demographics and variables associated with injury patterns and outcomes. Outcomes of interest included mortality and length of stay. Results: Over the study period, data were collected on 1995 patients from 10 LMICs (20 hospitals) and four HICs (four hospitals). Significantly higher mortality was seen in LMICs compared with HICs (17% versus 9%; P < 0.001). There was no significant difference between income regions for injury patterns (P = 0.062) or total body surface area of the burn injury (P = 0.077). Of the LMIC hospitals in this data set, 11% did not have reliable access to an operating theater. Conclusions: HICs had a lower overall mortality even with higher rates of concurrent injuries, as well as longer length of stay. LMIC hospitals had fewer resources available, which could explain increased mortality, given similar total body surface area. This study highlights how investing in health care infrastructure could lead to improved outcomes for patients in low-resource settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)442-448
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Burn
  • Burn injury
  • Global surgery
  • LMIC
  • Plastic surgery
  • World Health Organization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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