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Minerva Medica 2007 December;98(6):653-9


language: English

Preventible thermal burns associated with the ignition of paint thinner: experience of a burn care network in Turkey

Haberal M. 1, Kut A. 2, Bas¸aran Ö. 1, Tarim A. 1, Türk E. 1, Sakalliogğlu E. 3, Noyan T. 1, Arslan G. 4

1 Department of General Surgery Transplantation and Burns Baskent University, Faculty of Medicine, Turkey 2 Department of Family Medicine Baskent University, Faculty of Medicine, Turkey 3 Burn and Fire Disasters Institute Baskent University, Faculty of Medicine, Turkey 4 Department of Anesthesiology Baskent University, Faculty of Medicine, Turkey


Aim. This retrospective study evaluated the epidemiology of burn injuries, due to paint thinner ignition, in patients treated at the burn units of a university hospital network.
Methods. From 1997 to 2005, 28 patients with thermal burns caused by ignition of paint thinner were admitted to our burn units. Age, sex, etiologic factors, extent and localization of burns, length of hospitalization, outcomes compared with other causes of thermal burns, and mortality rates were recorded for each patient.
Results. There were 25 males and 3 females. Mean age of the patients was 27.88±14.74 years. Two patients (7.4%) came from rural regions; the majority (92.9%; n=26) lived within city boundaries. The most common etiologic factor was attempting to start a fire in the stove with paint thinner. Mean extent of burns was 48.82±27.39% of the total body surface area. When compared with other flame burn causes, the extent of burns was significantly greater in paint-thinner burn patients. Affected body sites, in order of most affected to least affected, were the hands, feet, head and face, neck, and trunk and genital regions. Mean length of hospitalization for survivors was 39.65±37.83 days. The overall mortality rate was 39.3%. Sepsis (63.6%), excessive burns with inhalation injury (18.2%), pulmonary embolism (9.1%), and respiratory failure (9.1%) were the causes of the deaths.
Conclusion. Paint thinner ignition may cause excessive burns with high mortality rates. Its common misuse in starting stove fires by persons living in urban areas should be prevented immediately.

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