Prevention and Management of Infections Associated With Burns in the Combat Casualty

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Burns complicate 5% to 10% of combat associated injuries with infections being the leading cause of mortality. Given the long term complications and rehabilitation needs after initial recovery from the acute burns, these patients are often cared for in dedicated burn units such as the Department of Defense referral burn center at the United States Army Institute of Surgical Research in San Antonio, TX. This review highlights the evidence-based recommendations using military and civilian data to provide the most comprehensive, up-to-date management strategies for burned casualties. Areas of emphasis include antimicrobial prophylaxis, debridement of devitalized tissue, topical antimicrobial therapy, and optimal time to wound coverage.

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