Functional Exercise Capacity in Children With Electrical Burns

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Abstract

Electrical burns are a severe form of thermal injury extending deep into tissue. Here, we investigated the effect of electrical burns on metabolic rate, body composition, and aerobic capacity. We prospectively studied a cohort of 24 severely burned children. Twelve patients had a combination of electrical and flame burns and 12 matched controls had only flame burns. Endpoints were cardiopulmonary fitness (maximal oxygen consumption [VO2]), muscle strength (peak torque per body weight), body mass index, lean body mass index, and days of myoglobinemia (≥500 mg/dl). Demographics of both the groups were comparable. The electrical burn group had more days of myoglobinemia during acute hospitalization than the flame burn group (3.6 ± 1.8 days vs 0.3 ± 0.5 days, P < .0001). Maximal VO2 was significantly lower in the electrical burn group than in the flame burn group at intensive care unit discharge (27 ± 6 ml/kg/min vs 34 ± 5 ml/kg/min, P < .0014). Electrical burns are associated with myoglobinemia and decreased cardiopulmonary fitness.

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