Emergency Treatment of Severely Burned Pediatric Patients: Current Therapeutic Strategies

Gerd G. Gauglitz; David N. Herndon; Marc G. Jeschke

Disclosures

Pediatr Health. 2008;2(6):761-775. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

Burn trauma represents a devastating injury and remains as one of the leading causes of mortality and morbidity in children. Effective prevention strategies, advances in therapeutic techniques, based on an improved understanding of fluid resuscitation, appropriate infection control and improved treatment of inhalation injury, enhanced wound coverage, better nutritional regimens, advanced support of the hypermetabolic response to injury and improved glucose control, have significantly improved the clinical outcome of this unique patient population over the past years. This article aims to outline the current and emerging therapeutic strategies for the treatment of severely burned pediatric patients in the emergency department or initial phase of the intensive care unit.

Burn trauma remains to be a leading cause of mortality and morbidity in children. Over 440,000 children receive medical attention for burn injuries each year in the USA.[1] Children younger than 14 years of age account for nearly half of all emergency department-treated thermal burns.[2] With approximately 1100 children dying of burn-related injuries in the USA every year,[2] severe burns represent the third most common cause of death in the pediatric patient population,[3] and account for a significant number of hospital admissions in the USA.[2,4] The devastating consequences of burns have been recognized by the medical community and significant amounts of resources and research have been dedicated, successfully improving these dismal statistics. Recent reports revealed a dramatic decline in burn-related deaths and hospital admissions in the USA over the last 20 years, mainly resulting from effective prevention strategies, which decreased the number and severity of burns.[5,6,7] Advances in therapy strategies - based on improved understanding of resuscitation - more appropriate infection control and improved treatment of inhalation injury, enhanced wound coverage and better support of hypermetabolic response to injury, have further improved the clinical outcome of this unique patient population over the past years.

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