AbstractsMedical & Health Science

Diabetes: the challenge in burns units.

by Abu-Qamar, Ma'en Zaid

Institution: University of Adelaide
Year: 2007
Keywords: Diabetes; Burns and scalds; Foot Blood-vessels Diseases Treatment.; Diabetes Complications and sequelae
Record ID: 1034684
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/38942


People with diabetes are at a greater risk of burn injuries than those without diabetes. This stems from the epidemiological profiles of the conditions and the effects of morbidities associated with diabetes. Both conditions share some similarities in terms of metabolic alterations and suboptimal immune functions which may result in poor outcomes for patients. For that reason, it is reasonable to deduce that patients with diabetes are a challenging group to manage in burns units. However, this deduction should be taken cautiously because of lack of supporting evidence. Accordingly and after consulting with clinical experts, the research in this portfolio investigated the association between diabetes and burn injuries. In particular, two different aspects of this association were investigated in two individual quantitative and descriptive inquiries. The first was a case note review of patients hospitalised with a principal diagnosis of a foot burn injury in a large tertiary hospital in South Australia from 1999 to 2004. The second study investigated management of diabetes in burns units treating adults. This study is an e-mail survey of clinical leaders of burns units in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom. The clinical leaders were approached indirectly through key liaison persons in each identified unit. In the first study, outcomes for twelve subjects with and fifty-two without diabetes were described using descriptive and non-parametric statistics. In the second study, descriptive frequencies and content analysis were adopted to analyse twenty-nine responses from seventeen out of thirty burns units which participated in the study. Supporting findings in the literature, the first study showed that burn injuries among subjects with diabetes were mainly resulted from household devices. There were no statistically significant differences between subjects with and without diabetes in terms of size and depth of burn injuries and treatment received. In spite of this, there was a statistically significant association between diabetes and the experience of local post-burn complications and longer duration of hospitalisation. The second study indicated that more than twenty-five percent of the respondents believed that multidisciplinary centres should only occasionally be involved in the process of care. Participants reported that the individual profile of each patient plays a major role in determining the management of diabetes. Additionally, it was found that the insulin sliding scale was commonly used in the management of diabetes in burns units. The association between diabetes and a burn injury is a serious issue in terms of health and cost. This association need be addressed firstly and most importantly at the prevention level; secondly through proper management of both diabetes and burns.