Clinical Classification of Burns Severity

The classification of burns patients according to severity is very helpful  as it aids  in triage  (the organization of rescue and transfer of the patients to medical facilities and the  rational  allocation of  manpower and   material re- sources). With clear classification, care can be delivered in an orderly  manner according to relative importance and urgency.


Classification  Criteria Applied in China


Slight Burns

Second-degree burns  with a total area below 10% body surface area (BSA).


Moderate Burns

Total burn area 11–30% BSA, or third-degree burn less than 10% BSA.


Severe Burns

Total  burn  area  31–50%  BSA of third-degree burns area 11–20% BSA; and total burn area less than 31% BSA, but having  one of the following conditions:
(1) severe sys- temic condition or shock;
(2) compound injury or compli- cated injury;
(3) moderate or severe inhalation injury.


Extraordinarily Severe Burns

Total  burn  area above 51% BSA or third-degree burns area above 21% BSA.

Attention Points in Estimation of Burns Severity


1   To estimate the severity of burns, in addition to burn area and depth, consideration should  include patient’s age and  health condition, complications, intoxication, etc.

2   The purpose of classification is to help organization of rescue, transfer of patients and allocation of manpower and  material resources, but  not  for grading  the  treat- ment  level. Patients with slight burns  may deteriorate into  a serious  situation so that  they  also need  careful and high level treatment.

3   Classification should   be  done  in  a  proper way  and requires confirmation.

4   Accurate and  detailed notation of the estimation and classification decisions should  be  recorded to  assure quality control.