Silver Absorption on Burns After the Application of Acticoat™: Data From Pediatric Patients and a Porcine Burn Model

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Silver dressings have been widely used to successfully prevent burn wound infection and sepsis. However, a few case studies have reported the functional abnormality and failure of vital organs, possibly caused by silver deposits. The aim of this study was to investigate the serum silver level in the pediatric burn population and also in several internal organs in a porcine burn model after the application of Acticoat™. A total of 125 blood samples were collected from 46 pediatric burn patients. Thirty-six patients with a mean of 13.4% TBSA burns had a mean peak serum silver level of 114 μg/L, whereas 10 patients with a mean of 1.85% TBSA burns had an undetectable level of silver (<5.4 μg/L). Overall, serum silver levels were closely related to burn sizes. However, the highest serum silver was 735 μg/L in a 15-month-old toddler with 10% TBSA burns and the second highest was 367 μg/L in a 3-year old with 28% TBSA burns. In a porcine model with 2% TBSA burns, the mean peak silver level was 38 μg/L at 2 to 3 weeks after application of Acticoat™ and was then significantly reduced to an almost undetectable level at 6 weeks. Of a total of four pigs, silver was detected in all four livers (1.413 μg/g) and all four hearts (0.342 μg/g), three of four kidneys (1.113 μg/g), and two of four brains (0.402 μg/g). This result demonstrated that although variable, the level of serum silver was positively associated with the size of burns, and significant amounts of silver were deposited in internal organs in pigs with only 2% TBSA burns, after application of Acticoat™.

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