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Plastic Surgery International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 736368, 7 pages
Research Article

Burn Injuries Resulting from Hot Water Bottle Use: A Retrospective Review of Cases Presenting to a Regional Burns Unit in the United Kingdom

1Burn Service, St. Andrews Centre for Plastic Surgery and Burns, Chelmsford, Essex CM1 7ET, UK
2Burn Research Group, St. Andrew’s Anglia Ruskin (STAAR) Research Unit, Postgraduate Medical Institute, Anglia Ruskin University, Essex CM1 1SQ, UK

Received 24 September 2013; Revised 17 November 2013; Accepted 18 November 2013

Academic Editor: Bishara S. Atiyeh

Copyright © 2013 Shehab Jabir et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Introduction. Hot water bottles are commonly used to relieve pain and for warmth during the colder months of the year. However, they pose a risk of serious burn injuries. The aim of this study is to retrospectively review all burn injuries caused by hot water bottles presenting to our regional burns unit. Methods. Patients with burns injuries resulting from hot water bottle use were identified from our burns database between the periods of January 2004 and March 2013 and their cases notes reviewed retrospectively. Results. Identified cases involved 39 children (aged 17 years or younger) and 46 adults (aged 18 years or older). The majority of burns were scald injuries. The mean %TBSA was 3.07% (SD ± 3.40). Seven patients (8.24%) required debridement and skin grafting while 3 (3.60%) required debridement and application of Biobrane. One patient (1.18%) required local flap reconstruction. Spontaneous rupture accounted for 48.20% of injuries while accidental spilling and contact accounted for 33% and 18.80% of injuries, respectively. The mean time to heal was 28.87 days (SD ± 21.60). Conclusions. This study highlights the typical distribution of hot water bottle burns and the high rate of spontaneous rupture of hot water bottles, which have the potential for significant burn injuries.