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July 25, 2012

Factors Affecting The Healing of Burns

Burns are wounds. Wound healing is a complex process that can be affected by many factors. These factors may include:

  1. The age of the patient: elderly patients have delayed wound healing due to the fact that the blood supply is decreased to some parts of the skin with the presence of relative hypoxia (decreased oxygen). Very young and the elderly may not be able to mount an effective inflammatory response due to immature cells and less efficient physiological functioning respectively. See burns in geriatrics, Burns in pediatrics.

  2. Nutrition: nutrition plays an important factor in wound healing; patients who are malnourished have a decreased collagen formation. Wound healing requires protein synthesis therefore protein requirement increases in the presence of wound. Vitamins are also important for wound healing, vitamin C is important in collagen synthesis and in maintaining the immune function. Vitamin A is also important in promoting wound healing. zinc is important for wound healing as it's deficiency may impair wound healing, elderly are more liable for zinc deficiency due to poor intake and absorption. Zinc is important for many enzymes involved in the repair of tissue. Iron is important in collagen synthesis. Copper is also important as it's a co-factor for an enzyme called lysyl oxidase which is needed for cross linking of collagen molecules. See Nutrition and burns, Burns and fluid replacement.

  3. Infection: infection can affect wound healing and may lead to a delay or a non healing wound, infection has to be cleared before healing can take place. See Wound Infection, Burn wound care at home, Discharge home after a burn injury, Post hospital burn care.

  4. Presence of other illnesses: many illnesses can affect wound healing among which is diabetes. Diabetes affects the blood vessels leading to a change in the blood supply to the wound which in turn impair the delivery of oxygen and nutrients. Diabetes also affects the peripheral nerves leading to decreased sensation and a serious wound can result from a minor trauma. The wound of diabetic patients are more liable for infection. One of the other diseases that affect wound healing is malignancy in which the malignant cells grow very fast and nutrients are diverted from the wound side to the malignant cells. Loss of appetite and loss of weight in patients with malignancy also affect the healing of the wound. See Feet burns in diabetic patients.

  5. Medications: such as steroids which are anti-inflammatory that decreases inflammation and decreases the production of collagen, this will change the wound healing process and may delay wound healing.

This information is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice; it should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Call 911 for all medical emergencies.

November 18, 2011

Severe Burns Among Pediatrics Can Heal With Fewer Treatments, New Study Finds

Here is a research finding that could improve the recovery experience for pediatric patients who have suffered severe burns.

In mid-October, a study was released by researchers at Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics in Kansas City, Missouri that says that fewer treatments are just as effective as the present standard of care given to children suffering from burns. The research was presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition in Boston.

"Given the risk of infection, dressings for burn patients need to be changed once or twice a day. This experience can be traumatic, especially for a young child," said Daniel Ostlie, M.D., director, Surgical Critical Care at Children's Mercy and lead investigator of the study. "If we can reduce this trauma just the slightest bit by eliminating one of the topical applications - with no major implications for outcome - we can make a significant improvement in the patient recovery experience."

In the randomized study, researchers compared the effectiveness of two burn therapies commonly used to facilitate the healing process: topical silver sulfadiazine, which is an antimicrobial treatment; and collagenase ointment, which is an enzyme therapy. While silver sulfadiazine is frequently used for its anti-bacterial properties, collagenase ointment is believed to shorten the healing time of burn wounds.

"For all of our burn patients, we want to avoid more invasive treatment, such as skin graft, because these add another layer of distress for the patient and the family," said Janine Pettiford, M.D., surgical scholar in the Department of Surgery at Children's Mercy and an author of the study. "Non-invasive topical therapies have proven to be effective, but no studies have demonstrated if one treatment is more effective than another in reducing the odds that the patient would need a skin graft."

Using a consistent intervention approach with both therapies, researchers found there was no difference in the need for skin grafting between the two therapies. Additionally, the cost difference between the therapies was insignificant.

Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics is one of the nation's top pediatric medical centers. The 314-bed hospital provides care for children from birth through the age of 18, and has been recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center with Magnet designation for excellence in nursing services, and ranked in U.S. News & World Report's "America's Best Children's Hospitals" listing for all 10 specialties the magazine ranks.

I you or someone you know does suffer a severe burn injury or a smoke inhalation injury, you should call Kramer & Pollack LLP in Mineola, New York so that the personal injury attorneys in that firm can determine whether another party has legal liability for injuries suffered, and if the injured party has a solid legal case.