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So much for percentage, but what about the weight?
  1. T C S Cubison1,
  2. P M Gilbert2
  1. 1Specialist Registrar in Plastic Surgery
  2. 2Consultant Plastic Surgeon and Director of the McIndoe Burn Centre, Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Tania Cubison
 Slipmill Hollow, Hawkhurst, Kent TN18 5AB;


The use of resuscitation formulae for burns is advocated for A&E departments. Much care is taken to calculate the percentage of the burn, but this is then multiplied by an approximate weight. How accurate is this figure and should it be more carefully measured?

Forty two sets of case notes of patients with resuscitation sized burns were reviewed. In 32, a weight was documented in the A&E notes. This was compared with the measured weight on arrival at the burn centre. In half the cases there was a greater than 5 kg difference and in nine patients over 10 kg of difference.

The methods of patient weight assessment in 16 A&E departments were reviewed. The majority have only stand on scales. Three departments have sit on scales; however, if they were assessing the weight of a patient who is unable to sit they would need to ask the patient, relatives, or simply guess.

Investment in weighing equipment should be encouraged if resuscitation formulae are to have any place in the A&E management of burn patients.

  • A&E, accident and emergency
  • ATLS, Advanced Trauma Life Support
  • EMSB, Emergency Management of Severe Burns
  • TBSA, total percentage body surface area
  • burns
  • resuscitation
  • weight assessment

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  • Competing interests: none declared