Pulmonary embolism in burned children

M. H. Desai, H. A. Linares, D. N. Herndon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


There are occasional reports in the literature concerning the incidence of pulmonary embolism in the postburn population, but reports of burned children are especially rare. The clinical diagnosis of pulmonary embolism is particularly difficult in these populations due to the postburn pulmonary complications of pneumonia, bronchopneumonia, respiratory distress syndrome, and changes incurred through inhalation injury. A retrospective review of all patient deaths occurring at this institution during the past 22 years was performed in order to document the incidence of pulmonary embolism in burned children. Of the 6589 patients admitted during this time, 178 patients died (2.7%) and three (1.7%) deaths were attributable to pulmonary embolism. Two other deaths (1.1%) were associated with deep vein thrombosis. The incidence of pulmonary embolism can then be calculated at 46 per 100000 admissions in this population of burned children. Burned patients always pose an increased risk for the development of pulmonary embolism. These patients are traumatized, require multiple venous and/or arterial cannulations, undergo multiple surgical procedures, are immobile for prolonged periods, prone to infectious processes and fluid and electrolyte imbalances. Despite all these risk factors, the incidence of pulmonary embolism is less than 2 per cent of all deaths in this postburn paediatric population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)376-380
Number of pages5
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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