Emergency Medicine Book


Burn Management

Aka: Burn Management, Parkland Formula for Fluid Resuscitation in Burn Injury
  1. See Also
    1. Burn Evaluation
    2. Smoke Inhalation
  2. Management: Home interventions for patients prior to presentation
    1. Do not break Blisters
    2. Do not apply any topical medications to burn site prior to evaluation
    3. Immediately remove any items that may cause further injury
      1. Remove all clothing, jewelry, Contact Lenses
      2. Stop any ongoing burning
      3. Remove any clothing involved in scald burn
      4. Remove all clothing involved in chemical burn (removed with Eye Protection, gloves and other PPE)
      5. Remove all rings, belts, watches and other items that may cause Tourniquet-type effect
    4. Place the wound site under cool Running water (46 to 77 F, 8 to 25 C) for 20 minutes (minor Burn Injury only)
      1. May reduce Burn Injury depth and allow for faster healing with less scar
      2. Benefits may be limited to the following one hour
    5. Do not immerse the burn in ice water (Vasoconstriction related tissue injury risk)
      1. However cool burn with water
      2. Risks further injury and Hypothermia
  3. Management: General Pointers
    1. Use Opioids intravenously (avoid intramuscular use)
      1. Administer adequate analgesia to allow for assessment, cleaning and dressing of wounds
    2. Avoid antibiotics until infection occurs
    3. Administer tetanus Vaccination
      1. Indicated if patient has not had at least 3 dose Primary Series AND Tetanus booster in last 5 years
    4. Staff should wear Personal Protective Equipment (masks, Eye Protection, gloves) in suspected chemical burn
      1. Remove all clothing from patient
      2. Precautions and Decontamination as directed by Hazard Safety Data Sheets or Poison Control
    5. Do not cover burns with Silvadene if transporting
      1. Obscures lesions for primary burn team
      2. Burn team will apply Silvadene after their evaluation
      3. Bacitracin may be applied
  4. Management: Initial
    1. Trauma Primary Survey
      1. Assess airway Inhalation Injury
        1. Assess airway edema (intubate if suspect unstable airway)
        2. Arterial Blood Gas (ABG)
        3. Carboxyhemoglobin
          1. Dive Chamber indicated for level >40
      2. Remove all clothing, jewelry, Contact Lenses
      3. Stop any ongoing burning
      4. Cover injured areas after evaluation to prevent overall body heat loss
    2. Trauma Secondary Survey
      1. Assign Burn Injury grading and surface area involved
      2. Assess other injuries
      3. Evaluate for signs of intentional injury (e.g. abuse)
      4. Consider Smoke Inhalation and complications (Carbon Monoxide Poisoning, cyanide Poisoning)
      5. Evaluate for Compartment Syndrome requiring escharotomy
        1. Escharotomy may be deferred to Trauma surgery if good doppler pulse on Ultrasound at transfer time
        2. Compartment Syndrome onset >2 hours after Burn Injury (typically 4-6 hours)
          1. Orgill (2009) J Burn Care Res 30(5): 759-68 +PMID:19692906 [PubMed]
    3. Assess Fluid status
      1. Urine Output minimums
        1. Adult: 30-50 cc per hour
        2. Child: 1 cc/kg per hour
      2. Intravenous requirements for insensible loss (Parkland Formula)
        1. Parkland formula applies to burns encompassing >20% BSA
          1. First Degree Burn area does not count toward percent burn area or fluid volume
        2. Administer 2-4 ml crystalloid (NS or LR) per kg per %BSA
          1. Lactated Ringers (LR) is preferred to avoid hyperchloremic Metabolic Acidosis
            1. Volume requirements over first 24 hours may be as much as 10-20 Liters
          2. No initial fluid bolus is needed unless hypotensive
          3. Exercise caution in burn percentage calculation in children (overestimated by >200%)
            1. Goverman (2015) J Burn Care Res 36(5): 574-9 +PMID:25407387 [PubMed]
        3. Divide rehydration over 24 hours
          1. Give 50% over first 8 hours since burn
          2. Give second 50% over next 16 hours
  5. Management: Wound Care
    1. Avoid scrubbing the wound with antiseptics (e.g. Betadine, Peridex, Hibiclens)
    2. Use sterile saline or sterile water to clean the wound and eliminate debris
    3. Blisters
      1. Blister fluid contains both Cytokines that cause inflammation, but also growth factors to speed healing
      2. Indications to debride
        1. Debride roofs of large Blisters (>6 mm) with thin walls
          1. Allows dressings to be applied to wound directly
        2. Debride roofs of Blisters overlying joints
          1. Allows for normal joint movement
      3. Blister debridement approach
        1. Unroof Blister with sterile scissors
        2. Clean wound with chlorhexidine or similar mild antibiotic soap
        3. Cover wound with ointment and nonadherent dressing
      4. Indications to NOT debride
        1. Small Blisters (<6 mm) should be left intact
        2. Large thick walled Blisters (aspirate instead)
  6. Management: Topical agents
    1. Avoid Topical Corticosteroids
    2. Approach
      1. Goal is to maintain moist healing environment and prevent infection
      2. Administer Analgesics 30 minutes before dressing changes
      3. Method 1: Typical approach
        1. Apply topical agent (e.g. Bacitracin) with simple dressing that is changed every 12-24 hours
        2. Monitor for wound progression and infection
      4. Method 2: Burn center or wound care directed
        1. Apply advanced dressing (e.g. silver impregnated foam) for up to 14 days
    3. Topicals for superficial burns (first degree)
      1. No treatment needed (will heal without intervention within 1 week)
      2. Aquaphor
      3. Bacitracin ointment
      4. Sterile Medical-Grade Honey (avoid typical honey as it contains Botulism and other organisms)
        1. Cooper (2009) Wounds 21(2):29-36
          1. https://www.woundsresearch.com/content/a-comparison-between-medical-grade-honey-and-table-honeys-relation-antimicrobial-efficacy
      5. Aloe vera (may reduce pain)
      6. Topical NSAID (e.g. Diclofenac Gel, may reduce pain)
    4. Topicals for partial thickness burns
      1. Topical Antibiotics
        1. Bacitracin ointment
          1. Preferred initial topical agent in most cases
        2. Mupirocin (Bactroban)
          1. Used for MRSA prone regions (e.g. facial burns around the nose)
        3. Mafenide acetate (Sulfamylon)
          1. Used for deep burns even if eschar present
        4. Silvadene (Silver Sulfadine, SSD)
          1. Do not apply if Transferring patient to burn center (obscures wound)
          2. Preferred in Third Degree Burns
          3. Other agents are preferred for Second Degree Burns
            1. Silvadene inhibits Keratinocyte replication and delays healing and increases scar risk
            2. Wasiak (2013) Cochrane Database Syst Rev 3:CD002106 +PMID:23543513 [PubMed]
          4. Contraindicated in Sulfa Allergy, G6PD, pregnancy and Lactation and newborns
          5. New Occlusive Dressings may offer faster healing, less pain and lower cost (e.g. Aquacel Ag)
      2. Absorptive Dressings
        1. Aquacel Ag
          1. Less pain and healing time as well as less frequent dressing changes
          2. Lower total cost than Silvadene
          3. Broad spectrum antibacterial coverage
        2. Hydrocolloid Dressings (Duoderm, urgotul)
          1. Form gel when moisture is present (absorbs exudates)
          2. Less pain and healing time
          3. However dressing has an odor and obscures visualization of the wound site
        3. Alginate Dressings
          1. Seaweed derived absorbtive dressings
      3. Nonabsorptive dressings
        1. Nonadherent gauze (e.g. Vaseline Gauze)
          1. Inexpensive dressing used for superficial burns; lacks antibacterial coverage
        2. Silicone (Mepitel)
          1. Expensive dressing that allows wound seepage to pass through to overlying bandage
        3. Silver Impregnated dressing (e.g. Acticoat)
          1. Expensive non-adherent dressing that has broad spectrum antibacterial coverage
        4. Foam Pads (e.g. Optifoam)
          1. Barrier protection of wound site
      4. Miscellaneous dressings
        1. Biocomposite or biosynthetic (e.g. Biobrane)
          1. Silicone membrane with nylon mesh
          2. Efficacy limited to superficial burns and is expensive
        2. Bioactive skin substitute (e.g. Trancyte)
          1. Expensive, but less pain and healing time and allows visualization of burn through the dressing
  7. Management: Infection
    1. Causes
      1. Staphylococcus aureus
      2. Streptococcus Pyogenes
      3. Gram Negative Bacteria (esp. Diabetes Mellitus)
        1. Pseudomonas aeruginosa
        2. Acinetobacter species
        3. Klebsiella species
    2. Precautions
      1. Signs of Iinfection may be difficult to distinguish from the original burn inflammation
      2. Infections at burn sites may progress rapidly
      3. Fever in first 72 hours of Burn Injury is typically not due to burn-related infection
        1. Often due to hypermetabolism and may be treated with antipyretics
        2. Fever after first 72 hours of Burn Injury warrants evaluation and often hospitalization
      4. Oral antibiotic prophylaxis (e.g. Cephalexin) is NOT recommended in first or Second Degree Burns
        1. Systemic antibiotics do not modify skin surface flora and do not reduce infection risk
        2. Systemic antibiotics increase Antibiotic Resistance
        3. Topical Antibiotics may reduce infection risk
      5. Burn Injury in Diabetes Mellitus is associated with a high risk of infection (44%) and other complications (90%)
        1. Foot burn injuries in Diabetes Mellitus are high risk for infection (15%)
        2. Gram Negative infections are more common in Diabetes Mellitus
        3. Clinical re-examination of feet every 3-4 days is recommended (or admit for 3-4 day observation)
    3. Management
      1. Direct antibiotics coverage to Gram Negatives and Gram Positives based on local Antibiotic Resistance
  8. Management: Criteria for transfer or referral to burn center
    1. Partial thickness burns involving more than 10% of total body surface area
      1. Immediate transfer if partial thickness burn involving 20% BSA (10% if age under 10 or over 50 years old)
    2. Third degree (full thickness) burns
      1. Immediate transfer if Third Degree Burn >5% of total body surface area
    3. Any burns of high risk areas
      1. Face, eyes or ears
      2. Hands or Feet
      3. Genitals or perineum
    4. Electrical Burns
    5. Inhalation Injury
    6. Chemical burns
    7. Burn Injury with associated Trauma (e.g. Fractures)
    8. Burn Injury expected to require >2 weeks for healing (reduce Hypertrophic Scar)
  9. Management: Burn-related symptoms
    1. Pruritus
      1. Skin Lubricants
      2. Cool clothes
      3. Oatmeal topical preparations
      4. Cetirizine (Zyrtec)
      5. Doxepin topically
    2. Pain
      1. Opioid Analgesics
      2. Gabapentin (Neurontin) or Pregabalin (Lyrica)
    3. GI prophylaxis (peptic ulcer prophylaxis)
      1. Consider H2 Blocker (e.g. Ranitidine) or Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI) for more hospitalized patients with Burn Injury
  10. Management: Follow-up
    1. Burn reassessment in 48-72 hours
      1. Even initially minor appearing wounds may significantly worsen with days
      2. Superficial partial thickness burns may extend to deep partial thickness or Third Degree Burns
    2. Prevent reinjury to burn sites
      1. Cover with Sunscreen SPF 50 and avoid direct sunlight on Burn Injury for 2 years
  11. References
    1. Mason and Yowler in Herbert (2016) EM:Rap 16(4):4-5
    2. Cuttle (2009) Burns 35(6): 768-75 [PubMed]
    3. Grunwald (2008) Plast Reconstr Surg 121(5): 311e-9e [PubMed]
    4. Hettiaratchy (2004) BMJ 328(7452): 1366-8 [PubMed]
    5. Lanham (2020) Am Fam Physician 101(8): 463-70 [PubMed]
    6. Lloyd (2012) Am Fam Physician 85(1): 25-32 [PubMed]
    7. Roberts (2003) Emerg Med News 25(3): 28-31 [PubMed]
    8. Sheridan (2005) Emerg Care 21(7): 449-56 [PubMed]

Burns care (C1318600)

Concepts Biomedical Occupation or Discipline (T091)
SnomedCT 408462000
English burn management, burns managements, burns management, management burns, Burns care (qualifier value), Burns care, Burns management
Spanish atención de quemaduras (calificador), atención de quemaduras
Derived from the NIH UMLS (Unified Medical Language System)

You are currently viewing the original 'fpnotebook.com\legacy' version of this website. Internet Explorer 8.0 and older will automatically be redirected to this legacy version.

If you are using a modern web browser, you may instead navigate to the newer desktop version of fpnotebook. Another, mobile version is also available which should function on both newer and older web browsers.

Please Contact Me as you run across problems with any of these versions on the website.

Navigation Tree