Articles Posted in The Effect of Burns on the Kidneys

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Here is an informative article for anyone who suffers injuries from severe burns–not just soldiers who are burned in combat:

Many American soldiers who suffer burns during combat develop acute kidney injury–an abrupt or rapid decline in kidney function that is potentially deadly. That’s the finding of a study that looked at acute kidney injury among 692 U.S. military casualties who were evacuated from Iraq and Afghanistan to burn units.

Using two different classification systems, the researchers found that rates of acute kidney injury were 24 percent and 30 percent among the casualties. What’s more, those with acute kidney injury were much more likely to die than those without it. Death rates among patients with moderate forms of kidney problems were 21 to 33 percent, while severe forms of the condition were made the death rate a whopping 63 to 65 percent. In comparison, the death rate for patients who did not have acute kidney injury was 0.2 percent.

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One of the life threatening complications of severe burns is acute renal (kidney) failure (ARF). ARF is a sudden loss of the kidney’s ability to excrete waste, concentrate urine and conserve electrolytes.

According to a study done in Helsinki burn Center between 1988 and 2001, the mortality of ICU patients with ARF was 44.1% where as patients without ARF was only 6.9%. It is shown that the severity of the burn, the presence of smoke inhalational injury and the age of the patient are among the factors that play a role in the incidence of ARF. According to Holm and colleagues (Acute Renal Failure in Severely Burned Patients), if ARF occurs within the first 5 days after the burn injury it’s early ARF, decrease blood pressure due to inadequate fluid replacement and the presence of myoglobin (muscle protein) in urine due to the destruction of muscle tissue as a result of burn, are common causes. If ARF occurs after 5 days of injury, it is late ARF; sepsis (severe infection spreading through the blood stream) is the most common cause.

ARF is treated with dialysis. As burns associated with ARF will worsen the prognosis, early preventive measures taken to reduce this complication include proper fluid replacement, infection prevention, early wound debridement, and excision of dead tissue.