Estimating BSA of burns with patient’s palm
It is commonly taught that a patient’s palmar hand represents approximately 1% of his/her body surface area (BSA), a useful tool when estimating the BSA of burns. But does one use the palm including or excluding the fingers? Adult studies support that the palmar hand including fingers actually represents about 0.8% BSA. Despite this widespread teaching, there are surprisingly few pediatric studies. Pediatric studies support the palmar hand without fingers to = 0.5% BSA, and with fingers close to 1% BSA. What is considered pediatric for using this estimation method? One original study included children to age 13 years, and another to age 17 years; puberty may be a useful cutoff age. How well the palm estimates BSA may also vary by gender, race, and degree of obesity. Ref: Thom D, Burns 2017 Feb; 43(1):127-136.