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Severe burns in children, 1964-1974.
  1. J J Cogswell,
  2. A C Chu


    580 children were admitted to the paediatric burns unit of Guy's Hospital between 1964 and 1974, of which 97 had burns exceeding 20% of the surface area, and 33 died (34% mortality). 80% of those with burns exceeding 50% of the surface area died. Young children died after less extensive burns. Respiratory failure, sepsis, and malnutrition were the most lethal complications. The prompt use and careful control of intravenous fluids had reduced the immediate complications associated with shock, and acute renal failure is now uncommon. Respiratory failure resulted in many deaths during the first week after injury. The need for intensive respiratory care involving paediatric, anaesthetic, and surgical staff is stressed. Sepsis and malnutrition remain major threats to survival. Improved methods of bacteriological control by laminar air flow units and topical antibacterial agents may help to reduce infection in the future. Reduction of energy expenditure by temporary skin coverings and a high environmental temperature, combined with a high calorie intake by oral and intravenous routes, may improve the outlook for severly burned children in the next decade.

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