BACKGROUND: Massive burns induce a hypermetabolic response that leads to total body wasting and impaired physical and psychosocial recovery. The administration of propranolol or oxandrolone positively affects postburn metabolism and growth. The combined administration of oxandrolone and propranolol (OxProp) for 1 year restores growth in children with large burns. Here, we investigated whether the combined administration of OxProp for 1 year would reduce scarring and improve quality of life compared with control.
STUDY DESIGN: Children with large burns (n = 480) were enrolled into this institutional review board-approved study; patients were randomized to control (n = 226) or administration of OxProp (n = 126) for 1 year postburn. Assessments were conducted at discharge and 6, 12, and 24 months postburn. Scar biopsies were obtained for histology. Physical scar assessments and patient reported outcome measures of physical and psychosocial function were obtained.
RESULTS: Reductions in cellularity, vascular structures, inflammation, and abnormal collagen (P < 0.05) occurred in OxProp-treated scars. With OxProp, scar severity was attenuated and pliability increased (both P < 0.05). Analyses of patient-reported outcomes showed improved general and emotional health within the OxProp-treated group (P < 0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: Here, we have shown improvements in objective and subjective measures of scarring and an increase in overall patient-reported physical function. The combined administration of OxProp for up to a year after burn injury should be considered for the reduction of postburn scarring and improvement of long-term psychosocial outcomes in children with massive burns.
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