Objective: The authors provide an update on a multidisciplinary approach to the treatment of severely burned patients. A review of studies and clinical trials from the past to the present include fluid resuscitation, sepsis, immune function, hypermetabolism, early excision, wound healing, scar formation, and inhalation injury. Summary Background Data: Advances in treating initial burn shock, infection control, early wound closure, and modulation of the hypermetabolic response have decreased morbidity and mortality in the last two decades. Specialized burn care centers, using a multidisciplinary approach, not only successfully treat large burns and their complications, but provide the necessary rehabilitation and psychological support required for readjustment back into society. Conclusions: Thermal injury results in a number of physiologic alterations that can be minimized by adequate fluid resuscitation to maintain tissue perfusion, early excision of burn wounds, and rapid wound coverage. These measures, in combination with antibiotic coverage and nutritional support in the form of early enteral tube feedings, will decrease the hypermetabolic response and the incidence of sepsis that can lead to hemodynamic instability and organ failure. Ongoing clinical trials using anabolic agents (eg., recombinant human growth hormone) and pharmacologic agents that modulate inflammatory and endocrine mediators (e.g., ibuprofen and propranolol) show promise in the treatment of severe burn injuries.
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