Early Diagnosis and Prevention of Ischemic Enterocolitis in Massive Burns

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Abstract

To summarize the most salient literature regarding the pathogenesis, diagnosis, and prevention of ischemic enterocolitis (IE) in thermal injury. IE is a poorly characterized gastrointestinal complication associated with large burns. This entity occurs irrespective of abdominal trauma. The diagnostic challenges, paucity of treatment options and related complications make IE particularly lethal. Herein we present a case of profound IE in a 40-year-old male who sustained 80% total body surface area (TBSA) burns. We provide an overview of our current understanding of IE, discuss early diagnostic strategies, and review possible treatment options. Although there are several promising biomarkers of early IE and potential treatment strategies, prospective studies are lacking. IE secondary to massive thermal injury is a lethal complication of severely burned patients. Early recognition and evidenced-based treatment strategies are paramount to successful management of patients with IE. Additional research and prospective trials are warranted given this devastating complication of massive burns.

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