Nonsilver treatment vs. silver sulfadiazine in treatment of partial-thickness burn wounds in children: A systematic review and meta-analysis

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The evidence for application of silver-containing dressings and topicals in the treatment of partial-thickness burns in pediatric patients is largely based on clinical trials involving adult patients despite the important differences between the skin of children and adults. A systematic review and meta-analysis was performed of all randomized controlled trials comparing nonsilver treatment with silver-containing dressings and silver topical agents in children with partial-thickness burns in the acute stage. Endpoints were wound healing, grafting, infection, pain, number of dressing changes, length of hospital stay, and scarring. Seven randomized controlled trials were included involving 473 participants. All trials used silver sulfadiazine as control in comparison with five different nonsilver treatments. Most trials were of moderate quality with high risk of bias. Use of nonsilver treatment led to shorter wound healing time (weighted mean difference: −3.43 days, 95% confidence interval: −4.78, −2.07), less dressing changes (weighted mean difference: −19.89 dressing changes, 95% confidence interval: −38.12, −1.66), and shorter length of hospital stay (weighted mean difference: −2.07 days, 95% confidence interval: −2.63, −1.50) compared with silver sulfadiazine treatment, but no difference in the incidence of wound infection or grafting was found. In conclusion, nonsilver treatment may be preferred over silver sulfadiazine, but high-quality randomized controlled trials are needed to validly confirm the effectiveness of silver containing preparations, in particular silver-containing dressings, above nonsilver treatments.

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