Background: Main contributors to adverse outcomes in severely burned pediatric patients are profound and complex metabolic changes in response to the initial injury. It is currently unknown how long these conditions persist beyond the acute phase post-injury. The aim of the present study was to examine the persistence of abnormalities of various clinical parameters commonly utilized to assess the degree hypermetabolic and inflammatory alterations in severely burned children for up to three years post-burn to identify patient specific therapeutic needs and interventions. Methodology/Principal Findings: Patients: Nine-hundred seventy-seven severely burned pediatric patients with burns over 30% of the total body surface admitted to our institution between 1998 and 2008 were enrolled in this study and compared to a cohort non-burned, non-injured children. Demographics and clinical outcomes, hypermetabolism, body composition, organ function, inflammatory and acute phase responses were determined at admission and subsequent regular intervals for up to 36 months post-burn. Statistical analysis was performed using One-way ANOVA, Student's t-test with Bonferroni correction where appropriate with significance accepted at p<0.05. Resting energy expenditure, body composition, metabolic markers, cardiac and organ function clearly demonstrated that burn caused profound alterations for up to three years post-burn demonstrating marked and prolonged hypermetabolism, p<0.05. Along with increased hypermetabolism, significant elevation of cortisol, catecholamines, cytokines, and acute phase proteins indicate that burn patients are in a hyperinflammatory state for up to three years post-burn p<0.05. Conclusions: Severe burn injury leads to a much more profound and prolonged hypermetabolic and hyperinflammatory response than previously shown. Given the tremendous adverse events associated with the hypermetabolic and hyperinflamamtory responses, we now identified treatment needs for severely burned patients for a much more prolonged time.
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