The Hypermetabolic Response to Burn Injury and Interventions to Modify this Response

Felicia N. Williams, David Herndon, Marc G. Jeschke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

83 Scopus citations


Severe burn injury is followed by a profound hypermetabolic response that persists up to 24 months after injury. It is mediated by up to 50-fold elevations in plasma catecholamines, cortisol, and inflammatory cells that lead to whole-body catabolism, elevated resting energy expenditures, and multiorgan dysfunction. All of these metabolic and physiologic derangements prevent full rehabilitation and acclimatization of burn survivors back into society. Modulation of the response by early excision and grafting of burn wounds, thermoregulation, early and continuous enteral feeding with high-protein high-carbohydrate feedings, and pharmacologic treatments have markedly decreased morbidity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)583-596
Number of pages14
JournalClinics in Plastic Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2009



  • β-blockade
  • Burns
  • Catabolism
  • Catecholamines
  • Hypermetabolism
  • Wasting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

Cite this