Impairment after burns: A two-center, prospective report

B. A. Costa, L. H. Engrav, R. Holavanahalli, D. C. Lezotte, D. R. Patterson, K. J. Kowalske, P. C. Esselman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Impairment rating is regularly reported for trauma and other conditions but rarely for burns. The purposes of this study were: (1) to report impairment collected prospectively at our burn center, (2) to relate this impairment to measures of psychosocial and functional outcome, and (3) to compare these data to similar data from another burn center to verify that rating impairment is standardized and that the impairments are similar. We studied 139 patients from the University of Washington (UW) Burn Center and 100 patients from the University of Texas (UT) Southwestern Burn Center. The average whole person impairment (WPI) ratings at the University of Washington were 17% and this correlated with total body surface area burned and days off work. It did not correlate with Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI), Functional Independence Measure (FIM), Short-Form 36-Item Health Survey (SF-36), Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS), and the Community Integration Questionnaire (CIQ). Average whole person impairment ratings at UT Southwestern were similar at 19%. Several components of the impairment rating, however, differed at the two institutions. To minimize this variation, we recommend: (1) use the skin impairment definitions of the fifth edition of the Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment (or the most recent published versions of the Guide), and (2) include sensory impairment in healed burns and skin grafts in the skin impairment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)671-675
Number of pages5
Issue number7
StatePublished - Nov 2003


  • Burn
  • Impairment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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