Cold stress response in patients with severe burns after β-Blockade

D. Honeycutt, R. Barrow, D. Herndon

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19 Scopus citations


Adrenergic receptor blockade has been shown to be of benefit in the treatment of adverse cardiovascular changes in patients with burns during the hypermetabolic phase. This article examines the stress response to cold exposure in adults and children with 33% to 95% total body surface area burns with and without β-blockade. Resting energy expenditures were measured by indirect calorimetry; the test subjects were exposed to mean temperatures of 27.5° C (room temperature) or 24.6° C (cold). The mean resting energy expenditure at ambient room temperature in patients with burns without β-blockade was 1411 ± 70 kcal/m2/day (mean ± SEM). This value was 142% of that predicted for normal control subjects without burns. When placed in a cold temperature, patients with burns significantly increased their resting energy expenditures by 160% of predicted values, whereas patients with similar burns and β-blockade increased their resting energy expenditures by 156%. Adults with septic burns had a mean resting energy expenditure 198% of the predicted value. These patients did not significandy increase their resting energy expenditures when they were exposed to cold either with or without β-blockade. Data suggest that patients with septic burns already have a maximal metabolic response and that cold stress does not further increase this response. Males, ages 17 to 54 years, were found to increase their resting energy expenditures by 11.4 kcal/m2/day for each percent total body surface area burn. We conclude that β-blockade with propranolol in therapeutic doses may be used in patients with burns without adversely affecting the cold stress response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-186
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Burn Care and Rehabilitation
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1992


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Nursing(all)
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Rehabilitation
  • Health Professions(all)

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