Evaluation of the Burn Wound with Perfusion Fluorometry

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Determination of depth of burn injury using vital dyes has been unsatisfactory. The present study evaluated the ability of the fiberoptic perfusion fluorometer to assess the depth of burn in the early postburn period. Sixty-three burns were examined with the fluorometer after intravenous administration of sodium fluorescein. The fluorescein kinetics were monitored for 1 hour within the first 48 hours and again between the third and sixth days postburn. The rate of fluorescein uptake and burn wound fluorescence was determined and compared to that of normal unburned skin. Depth of burn was confirmed by biopsy and healing characteristics. Fluorometric analysis during both study periods consistently distinguished between partial-thickness and full-thickness burns. Partial-thickness burns uniformly exhibited fluorescence within 10 minutes; full-thickness burns showed nil fluorescence. None of the patients experienced a change in skin color or complications from the small dose of fluorescein given.

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