Pruritus in adult burn survivors: Postburn prevalence and risk factors associated with increased intensity

Gretchen J. Carrougher, Erin M. Martinez, Kara S. McMullen, James A. Fauerbach, Radha K. Holavanahalli, David N. Herndon, Shelley A. Wiechman, Loren H. Engrav, Nicole S. Gibran

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64 Scopus citations

Abstract

Pruritus (itching) is a common and distressing complaint after injury. The purpose of this study was to investigate self-reported postburn pruritus in a large, multisite cohort study of adult burn survivors. Descriptive statistics, general linear regression, and mixed model repeated measures analyses were employed to test statistical significance. Two cohorts of adult burn survivors were studied. Group 1 participants (n = 637) were injured from 2006 to 2010 and were followed up prospectively for 2 years from the time of injury. Prevalence and severity of pruritus were compared across multiple subgroups. Prevalence of pruritus at discharge, 6, 12, and 24 months following injury were 93, 86, 83, and 73%, respectively. Regression results established that %TBSA-burn and %TBSA-grafted were correlated to itch intensity values. Group 2 participants (n = 336) were injured 4 to 10 years before an assessment using the validated 5-D Itch Scale. Many patients (44.4%) reported itching in the area of the burn, graft, or donor site. Within this group, 76% reported itching for <6 hours/day, and 52 and 29% considered itch intensity to be mild or moderate, respectively. This study confirms that the prevalence of burn pruritus is high, initially affecting >90% and persisting for >40% of long-term burn survivors. New predictors for postburn itch were identified to include younger age, dry skin, and raised/thick scars. Characterization of the impact of postburn pruritus on leisure, vocation, and sleep are quantified for those long-term survivors suffering from postburn pruritus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-101
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Burn Care and Research
Volume34
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Rehabilitation

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    Carrougher, G. J., Martinez, E. M., McMullen, K. S., Fauerbach, J. A., Holavanahalli, R. K., Herndon, D. N., Wiechman, S. A., Engrav, L. H., & Gibran, N. S. (2013). Pruritus in adult burn survivors: Postburn prevalence and risk factors associated with increased intensity. Journal of Burn Care and Research, 34(1), 94-101. https://doi.org/10.1097/BCR.0b013e3182644c25