Heparin/N-acetylcysteine: An adjuvant in the management of burn inhalation injury

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Purpose:Nebulized heparin may reduce fibrin cast formation and reduce the degree of airway obstruction in burn inhalation injury.Methods:Twenty-nine patients admitted to burn intensive care unit (ICU) within 24 hours of burn inhalation injury were included in this prospective double-blinded randomized study. Group H5 received nebulized heparin sulfate 5,000 IU, and group H10 received nebulized heparin sulfate 10,000 IU. Heparin was given in alternation with N-acetylcysteine every 2 hours. Lung injury score assessed daily for 7 days was the primary outcome. Duration of mechanical ventilation, coagulation profile, length of ICU stay, and mortality were the secondary outcomes.Results:Median lung injury scores were significantly lower in group H10 on days 5 (1.9 vs 1), 6 (1.4 vs 0.5), and 7 (1.3 vs 0.5). Group H10 had also a lower duration of mechanical ventilation than did group H5 (P = .037). The groups had no significant difference in coagulation parameters, length of ICU stay (P = .17), and mortality (P = .6).Conclusions:Nebulized heparin 10,000 IU decreased lung injury scores and duration of mechanical ventilation but had no effect on length of ICU stay and mortality. Moreover, nebulized heparin 10,000 IU was safe and had no effect on coagulation parameters.

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