What are the American Burn Association burn center transfer criteria?

Updated: Jan 10, 2018
  • Author: Robert L Sheridan, MD; Chief Editor: John Geibel, MD, DSc, MSc, AGAF  more...
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After the patient has been fully evaluated and stable hemodynamics and gas exchange are ensured, evaluate the burn wound in detail. [28] Evaluate burn wounds initially for extent, depth, and circumferential components. Decisions regarding the type of monitoring, wound care, hospitalization, and transfer are made based on this information. [22, 23] The American Burn Association burn center transfer criteria are as follows: [22]

  • Second- or third-degree burns greater than 10% total body surface area (TBSA) in patients younger than 10 years or older than 50 years [29]

  • Second- or third-degree burns greater than 20% TBSA in persons of other age groups

  • Second- or third-degree burns that involve the face, hands, feet, genitalia, perineum, or major joints

  • Third-degree burns greater than 5% TBSA in persons of any age group

  • Electrical burns, including lightening injury

  • Chemical burns [30, 31]

  • Inhalational injury [20]

  • Burn injury in patients with preexisting medical disorders that could complicate management, prolong recovery, or affect mortality

  • Any patients with burns or concomitant trauma (eg, fracture) in which the burn injury poses the greatest risk of morbidity or mortality: In such cases, if the trauma poses the greater immediate risk, the patient may be treated initially in a trauma center until stable before being transferred to a burn center. Physician judgment is necessary in such situations and should be in concert with the regional medical control plan and triage protocols. [22]

  • A lack of qualified personnel or equipment for the care of children (transfer to facility with these qualities) [32]

  • Burn injury in patients who require special social/emotional and/or long-term rehabilitative support, including cases involving suspected child abuse or substance abuse [33, 34]

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