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Burn injuries in the 1995 Hanshin-Awaji earthquake.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Burns
0305-4179
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
23
Issue
4
Pages
319–322
Identifiers
PMID: 9248641
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

In the 1995 Hanshin-Awaji earthquake, 504 deaths were listed as fire related, although many of the victims may have been crushed or suffocated before they were burned. Census data related to surviving burn victims, however, were unknown. This study was designed to examine the medical requirements of those burn patients following the earthquake. Medical records of 2718 patients with injuries admitted to 95 hospitals during the 15 days after the earthquake were retrospectively reviewed. Only 44 patients (1.9 per cent) were hospitalized with burns. Scalds with less than 20 per cent total burn surface area (TBSA) were mainly observed; flame burns from earthquake-associated fires were rare. Morbidity rates increased in patients over 40 years old. Associated injuries were observed in 11 cases. These included three soft tissue injuries, one rib, three spine, three pelvis and two extremity fractures, and two cases of crush syndrome. Intensive care was required for only 10 patients, five of whom were transferred to hospitals that were undamaged or outside the earthquake zone. No relationship was noted between the number of burned houses and that of hospitalized burn patients. These results suggest that the number of burn patients requiring medical care was less than might have been expected in view of the total number of fire-related deaths in this urban earthquake.

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