Cause of mortality in thermally injured patients
Concomitant with a decreasing mortality rate, a marked change in the cause of death has occurred in thermally injured patients over the last decade. In 1979, a mortality rate of 27.1 % was observed in 273 patients admitted to this Institute. Between the years of 1987 und 1991, an overall mortality rate of 8.5% was observed in 1094 patients with a generally comparable age and burn size distribution compared to the 1979 cohort (Table 1). In 1979, infection was identified as the primary cause of death in 64% of patients, a figure which has declined to 42 % over the past 5 years. In 1979, the mean postburn day of death was postburn day 24, but it has recently increased to postburn day 32.
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