Published: 15 November 2012 at 13:28
St Andrew’s Anglia Ruskin research highlights risk of burns from spontaneous rupture
New research – the first of its kind in Europe – has revealed the dangers associated with the spontaneous rupture of hot water bottles.
Burn injuries resulting from hot water bottle use is authored by Dr Shehab Jabir, Quentin Frew and Professor Peter Dziewulski of the St Andrew’s Anglia Ruskin (StAAR) Research Unit.
StAAR is a partnership between Anglia Ruskin University and the world-renowned St Andrew’s Centre for Plastic Surgery and Burns based at Mid Essex Hospitals Trust. The new research unit will be officially launched at Anglia Ruskin’s Postgraduate Medical Institute in Chelmsford on Friday, 16 November.
The study, which examined the case notes of 50 patients with burns resulting from hot water bottle use from between January 2004 and February 2012, found that exactly half of all injuries were the result of the hot water bottle bursting.
In eight of the cases there was some degree of patient misuse, such as sitting or stepping on the bottle. In the remaining 17 cases there was no clear evidence of misuse and the bottle appeared to have burst spontaneously.
Accidental spilling of hot water while filling a hot water bottle accounted for 32% of injuries, with the remaining 18% due to contact with an excessively hot surface.
The research found that 80% of the injuries occurred between October and February, and the majority of burns were scald injuries, with the commonest sites being the abdomen and lower limbs. The mean time taken for the burns to heal was 25.34 days and in the most serious cases two children required skin grafts and one patient needed local flap coverage (an area of skin, raised with its own blood supply, used to cover a defect).
Mrs Brenda Smith from Westcliff-on-Sea in Essex is currently receiving treatment from the St Andrew’s Centre for Plastic Surgery and Burns at Broomfield hospital in Chelmsford, following a burns injury caused by a hot water bottle. Mrs Smith, aged 63, said:
Quentin Frew, Visiting Clinical Fellow at Anglia Ruskin, said: