Long-term outcome after burn: Pruritus, pain, personality and perceived health

  • Datum:
  • Plats: Gunnesalen, Entrance 10, Akademiska sjukhuset, Uppsala
  • Doktorand: Gauffin, Emelie
  • Om avhandlingen
  • Arrangör: Psykiatri, Akademiska sjukhuset
  • Kontaktperson: Gauffin, Emelie
  • Disputation

This thesis investigated the role of burn-specific and individual-related factors for long-term outcome after burn with emphasis on pruritus, pain, personality and perceived health.

Consecutive adult patients, admitted to the Uppsala University Burn Center between 2000 and 2009, were included. Patients were assessed during hospitalization, at 3, 6, 12 and 24 months and finally at 2-7 and 10-17 years post-burn.

Pruritus was prevalent in half of the patients 2-7 years post-burn. Of the patients with pruritus, half had severe pruritus, which was independently related to full thickness burn and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) at 3 months post-burn. One third scratched to the point of bleeding. Such scratching was independently related to full thickness burns and the personality trait Impulsiveness, but did not necessarily imply more severe pruritus. Results suggest that many patients lack adequate treatment.

 Pain was prevalent in one third of the patients 2-7 years post-burn. Severity levels generally decreased over time and was at follow-up mostly regarded as mild to moderate. Post-burn pain has a negative effect on HRQoL and at 3 months post-burn, HRQoL was independently related to the reporting of post-burn pain at 2-7 years.

Personality trait scores in burn patients deviated little from norm values. Personality traits remained largely stable the first year after burn injury, except for an increase in the trait Stress Susceptibility, which was scored lower during the acute care phase but normalized at 12 months post-burn.

In qualitative interviews 10-17 years post-burn, participants reported living a near normal life. The subscales of the burn-specific health scale brief were in general still applicable at this time point. Additional areas playing an important role for post-burn health and outcome were skin-related problems, morphine de-escalation, the importance of work, stress and avoidance, mentality and the healthcare system.

Certain subgroups of burn patients are more vulnerable and likely to develop post-burn sequalae and this is dependent on both burn severity and individual characteristics. In general, however, many former burn patients recover well in the long run.