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Letter to the Editor - Year2015 - Volume30 - Issue 4

I would like to compliment the authors of the article entitled "Burn Unit of the Federal University of Sao Paulo: epidemiological study" published in the Brazilian Journal of Plastic Surgery volume 30, number 1, pages 86 to 92, 2015. The work is noteworthy for presenting the epidemiological characteristics of a burn unit that is becoming a reference in the city of São Paulo. Nevertheless, observing some epidemiological characteristics pertaining to the care of burn victims is recommended.

The epidemiological profile of burn victims treated at the emergency departments of public hospitals with burn units, who are discharged after the first visit and are followed up on an outpatient basis, differs from that of patients who require hospitalization after the first care in these hospitals1-8.

The causes of burns in outpatients who were treated at the outpatient clinic of the Hospital Regional da Asa Norte (HRAN), Brasília, Distrito Federal, were as follows: scalds (50.1%), hot objects (16.4%), fire/flame (15.7%), electricity (4.4%), solar (1.2%), chemical (1.0%), psoralen (0.5%), and undefined (10.2%)8.

In patients who required hospitalization, i.e., 11% of burn victims treated at the HRAN-DF emergency department, the causes of burns were as follows: fire/flame (54.7%), scalds (34.5%), electricity (9.0%), and chemical (1.8%)2,8. The underlying cause was attempted suicide in 5.4% and epileptic seizures in 3.6% of the burn patients who needed hospitalization1-4. Among hospitalized patients who suffered burns due to fire/flame, alcohol was the combustible agent in 32.9% of cases8.

The proportion of pediatric burn patients is high. The household is the main site of accidents, and it is strongly recommended that children be closely supervised, especially in the kitchen and before bathing. They should not be allowed to move freely in the kitchen, and hot drinks and food should be served with utmost care. All cookers produced in Brazil should incorporate userprotection devices, including those designed to protect children4-7.

Nonetheless, preventive measures, although few and simple, are the difficult to implement. This is of particular concern in the slums and poverty pockets in Brazil, where people live under overcrowded conditions in one or two rooms. The people who live in environments with low level of social and economic development are at greater risk of burn accidents7,8.

Burns are a public-health problem and efforts to reduce the large number of victims are needed through more effective national preventive campaigns and prophylactic measures to control the use of flammable liquids.


1. Macedo JLS, Rosa SC, Silva MG. Queimaduras autoinfligidas: tentativa de suicídio. Rev Col Bras Cir. 2011;38(6):387-91.

2. Soares de Macedo JL, Santos JB. Nosocomial infections in a Brazilian Burn Unit. Burns. 2006;32(4):477-81. DOI:

3. Macedo JLS, Roca SC. Estudo epidemiológico dos pacientes internados na Unidade de Queimados: Hospital Regional da Asa Norte, Brasília, 1992-1997. Brasília Méd. 2000;37(3/4):87-92.

4. Beraldo PSS, Nunes LGN, Silva IP, Ramos MFG. Sazonalidade de queimaduras por fogo, em pacientes admitidos numa unidade especializada do Distrito Federal, no período 1993-1996. Brasília Méd. 1999;36(3/4):72-81.

5. Macedo JLS, Rosa SC, Castro C. Sepsis in burned patients. Rev Soc Bras Med Trop. 2003;36(6):647-52. DOI:

6. Costa DM, Lemos ATO, Lamounier JA, Cruvinel MCG, Pereira MVC. Estudo retrospectivo de queimaduras na infância e adolescência. Rev Méd Minas Gerais. 1994;4(2):102-4.

7. De-Souza DA, Marchesan WG, Greene LJ. Epidemiological data and mortality rate of patients hospitalized with burns in Brazil. Burns. 1998;24(5):433-8. PMID: 9725683 DOI:

8. Carvalho GGF, Freitas FC, Macedo JLS. Estudo prospectivo das vítimas de queimaduras atendidas no serviço de emergência do Hospital Regional da Asa Norte de Brasília. Rev Saúde Dist Fed. 2005;16(1/2):7-15.

1. Universidade de Brasília. Brasília, DF, Brazil
2. Escola Superior de Ciências da Saúde. Brasília, DF, Brazil
3. Hospital Regional da Asa Norte. Brasília, DF, Brazil

Institution: Hospital Regional da Asa Norte. Brasília, DF, Brazil.

Corresponding author:
Jefferson Lessa Soares de Macedo
SQS 213 Bloco H ap 104, Asa Sul
Brasília, DF, Brazil Zip Code 70292-080

Article received: July 25, 2015.
Article accepted: August 23, 2015.


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