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Mortality from burn injury is related to the total body surface area (TBSA) burned by a sigmoidal distribution. A 100% TBSA burn is invariably fatal although there are very rare reports of survival after burns of greater than 90%.
Survival has improved in recent years with advances in resuscitation, better treatment of associated injuries, early tangential excision and artificial wound substitutes. The emergence of specialised burn units with the concentration of these skills has improved outcome.
A young adult in the 1950's sustaining a 50% burn had an approximate 50% mortality risk whereas today a burn of similar extent managed optimally will only kill 5-10% of victims.