Pulmonary histopathologic abnormalities and predictor variables in autopsies of burned pediatric patients

Linda E. Sousse, David N. Herndon, Clark R. Andersen, Andrew Zovath, Celeste C. Finnerty, Ronald P. Mlcak, Robert A. Cox, Daniel L. Traber, Hal K. Hawkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Pulmonary abnormalities occur in 30-80% of fatalities after burn. The objective of our study is to investigate lung pathology in autopsy tissues of pediatric burn patients. Methods Three scientists with pathology training in pediatric burn care reviewed masked autopsy slides of burned children who died after admission to a burn center from 2002 to 2012 (n = 43). Autopsy lung tissue was assigned scores for histologic abnormalities in 9 categories, including alveolar and interstitial fibrosis, hyaline membranes, and type II epithelial cell proliferation. Scores were then tested for correlation with age, TBSA burn, number of days between burn and death, time between burn and admission, and the presence of inhalation injury using analyses with linear models. Results Type II epithelial cell proliferation was significantly more common in cases with a longer time between burn and admission (p < 0.02). Interstitial fibrosis was significantly more severe in cases with longer survival after burn (p < 0.01). The scores for protein were significantly higher in cases with longer survival after burn (p < 0.03). Enlarged air spaces were significantly more prominent in cases with longer survival after burn (p < 0.01), and in cases with the presence of inhalation injury (p < 0.01). Conclusions Histological findings associated with diffuse alveolar damage (DAD), which is the pathological correlate of the acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), were seen in approximately 42% of autopsies studied. Protein-rich alveolar edema, which is the abnormality that leads to ARDS, may occur from multiple causes, including inhalation injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)519-527
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2015


  • Adult respiratory distress syndrome
  • Diffuse alveolar damage
  • Histology
  • Pediatric patients
  • Predictor variables
  • Scoring
  • Survivability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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