Surfactant Therapy for Acute Respiratory Distress in Severe Pediatric Burn Injury: A Case Series

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Abstract

After severe burn injury, pediatric patients often succumb to complications of respiratory failure. Surfactant has been used to improve pulmonary gas exchange for severe respiratory distress in other pediatric populations but has not been studied in pediatric burn-injured patients. Here, the authors report a case series of seven severely burned pediatric patients who received surfactant for acute respiratory distress and severe hypoxemia. Seven cases were reviewed of pediatric patients who received surfactant for severe acute respiratory distress. Data analyzed included age, TBSA burned, height, weight, mechanism of injury, total intensive care unit days, hospital days, and ventilator days. Modes of ventilation, peak inspiratory pressure, oxygen requirement, arterial blood gas analysis, blood pressure, and heart rate were analyzed before and the day following surfactant therapy. Four patients had reduced oxygen requirements following surfactant administration (FiO2: 0.66 ± 0.23–0.48 ± 0.025). Three patients showed no reduction in oxygen requirements (FiO2: 0.95 ± 0.09–0.90 ± 0.0). The remaining four patients who had reduced oxygen requirements received surfactant earlier following their injury (4.8 ± 0.9 days postinjury vs 17.7 ± 8 days postinjury) and had less derangement in oxygenation before surfactant dosing (PaO2:FiO2 ratio: 105.2 ± 26.4 vs 64.5 ± 5.2). Surfactant therapy may offer a therapeutic option during acute respiratory distress for severely burned pediatric patients. Surfactant may be useful early in the course of severe hypoxemia and acute respiratory distress but may not be effective as a salvage modality.

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