Topic Progress:

Topic Three: Aetiology

Burns

A burn is an injury caused by exposure to thermal (heat), chemical, electrical or radiation energy. It usually affects the skin but may also damage the airways, lungs, muscles, bones or other internal organs (NICE, 2019).

Non-complex burns

Previously described as minor burns, a partial-thickness thermal burn can be described as a burn covering <15% total body surface area (TSBA) in adults or <10% in children (<5% in children younger than one year) that does not affect a critical* area <1% of the body.

*Burns to hands, feet, face, perineum or genitalia, burns crossing joints and circumferential burns.

(Wounds International, 2014; Jeschke et al., 2018)

Complex burns

Previously described as major burns, a complex thermal burn can be described as a burn affecting a critical area or covering >15% TBSA in adults or >10% in children (>5% in children younger than one year). All chemical and electrical burns are considered complex (International Best Practice Guidelines, 2014).