Originally created 02/05/98

Doctors predict burn victims' survival chances



BOSTON -- Doctors can predict the survival chances of burn victims by assessing the extent of their burns, their age and whether they have lung damage, a study found.

Boston doctors said their simple formula can help doctors predict quickly which patients will live and which will die.

The three critical factors they identified are:

  • burns covering more than 40 percent of the body.
  • being over age 60.
  • having lung damage from inhaling smoke and heat.
  • If the victim has none of these conditions, the chances of death are slight, well under 1 percent. If one of these factors is present, the risk of death is 3 percent. With two of them, it is 33 percent, and with all three, it is 90 percent.

    The study, done by Dr. Colleen M. Ryan and others, was based on a review of 1,665 patients between 1990 and 1994 at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Shringers Burns Institute in Boston.