Update on the Critical Care Management of Severe Burns


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Abstract

Care of the severely injured patient with burn requires correct diagnosis, appropriately tailored resuscitation, and definitive surgical management to reduce morbidity and mortality. Currently, mortality rates related to severe burn injuries continue to steadily decline due to the standardization of a multidisciplinary approach instituted at tertiary health care centers. Prompt and accurate diagnoses of burn wounds utilizing Lund-Browder diagrams allow for appropriate operative and nonoperative management. Coupled with diagnostic improvements, advances in resuscitation strategies involving rates, volumes, and fluid types have yielded demonstrable benefits related to all aspects of burn care. More recently, identification of comorbid conditions such as inhalation injury and malnutrition have produced appropriate protocols that aid the healing process in severely injured patients with burn. As more patients survive larger burn injuries, the early diagnosis and successful treatment of secondary and tertiary complications are becoming commonplace. While advances in this area are exciting, much work to elucidate immune pathways, diagnostic tests, and effective treatment regimens still remain. This review will provide an update on the critical care management of severe burns, touching on accurate diagnosis, resuscitation, and acute management of this difficult patient population.

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