This study prospectively examines the incidence and severity of hand contractures after burn injury and determines predictors of contracture development. Data were collected prospectively from 1993 to 2002 for adult burn survivors admitted to a regional burn center. Demographic and medical data were collected on each subject. Primary outcome measures include presence of contractures, number of contractures, and the severity of contractures at each of the hand joints at hospital discharge. The metacarpal-phalangeal, proximal interphalangeal (PIP), and distal inter-phalangeal joints of all digits and the wrist joints are included in this study. Regression analysis was performed to determine predictors of the presence,severity, and number of contractures. Of the 985 study patients, 23% demonstrated at least one hand contracture at hospital discharge. Those with a contracture averaged ten contractures per person. Most contractures were mild (48%) or moderate (41%) in severity. The wrist was the most frequent y affected joint (22%). Statistically significant predictors of contracture development include concomitant medical problems, total body surface area grafted and presence of hand burn and hand grafting (P < .05). Predictors of the number of contractures include length of stay, concomitant medical problems, burn size and presence of hand burn and grafting (P < .05). Contractures of the hand are a significant complication of burn injury. Clinicians can use the contracture predictors to help target interventions for those patients most at risk of developing hand contractures. Given the functional importance of the hand in daily living, the burn care community is challenged to find new ways of preventing and treating hand contractures.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Emergency Medicine