Agreement of clinical assessment of burn size and burn depth between referring hospitals and burn centres: A systematic review
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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OriginalversjonBurns. 2022. 10.1016/j.burns.2022.05.007
Background: The quality of burn care is highly dependent on the initial assessment and care. The aim of this systematic review was to investigate the agreement of clinical assessment of burn depth and %TBSA between the referring units and the receiving burn centres. Methods: Included articles had to meet criteria defined in a PICO (patients, interventions, comparisons, outcomes). Relevant databases were searched using a predetermined search string (November 6th 2021). Data were extracted in a standardised fashion. The Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach for test accuracy was used to assess the certainty of evidence. The QUADAS-2 tool was used to assess the risk of bias of individual studies as ‘high’, ‘low’ or ‘unclear’. Results: A total of 412 abstracts were retrieved and of these 28 studies with a total of 6461 patients were included, all reporting %TBSA and one burn depth. All studies were cross-sectional and most of them comprising retrospectively enrolled consecutive cohort. All studies showed a low agreement between %TBSA calculations made at referring units and at burn centres. Most studies directly comparing estimations of %TBSA at referring institutions and burn centers showed a proportion of overestimations of 50% or higher. The study of burn depth showed that 55% were equal to the estimates from the burn centre. Most studies had severe study limitations and the risk of imprecision was high. The overall certainty of evidence for accuracy of clinical estimations in referring centres is low (GRADE ⊕⊕ОО) for %TBSA and very low (GRADE ⊕ООО) for burn depth and resuscitation. Conclusion: Overestimation of %TBSA at referring hospitals occurs very frequently. The overall certainty of evidence for accuracy of clinical estimations in referring centres is low for burn size and very low for burn depth. The findings suggest that the burn community has a significant challenge in educating and communicating better with our colleagues at referring institutions and that high-quality studies are needed.