The successful management of fluid-balance problems associated with the early phase in the clinical course of patients having extensive burns has prevented death from this complication in many of these patients. After survival through the early phase of the postburn period, these patients may develop further complications caused by the presence of a burn wound covering an extensive area. Such items as continued fluid loss, protein loss, and infection exact a great toll in the survival rate of these patients. Liedberg, Reiss, and Artz1 have recently shown that septicemia is a common cause of death in the severely burned patient. This may result from a large open wound, colonized by many species of bacteria. These observations emphasize the need for early coverage of all burned areas.
In an ideal situation, burned areas should be grafted with sheets of autogenous skin, but in the extensively burned patient there may be