Inhalation injuries most often occur with cutaneous burns, and the likelihood of an inhalation injury increases incrementally with age of the patient and size of the burn. Damage to the pulmonary parenchymal tissue manifests as increased capillary permeability leading to excessive lung fluid formation and increasing hypoxia. An inhalation injury may be diagnosed using observation of indirect criteria in conjunction with fiberoptic bronchoscopy, xenon 133 radiospirometry, and/or measurement of extravascular lung water. Initially, carbon monoxide poisoning threatens the patient's oxygenation capacity. High-flow oxygen therapy reduces the half-life of carbon monoxide to an acceptable period. The patient proceeds through three stages: pulmonary insufficiency, pulmonary edema, and bronchopneumonia. Treatment is directed toward supporting oxygenation using endotracheal intubation with mechanical ventilation, humidification of inspired air, early mobilization, chest physiotherapy, antibiotics for documented infection, and adequate systemic hydration.
ASJC Scopus subject areas