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Pulmonary Complications of the Burn Patient

C. David Shook, MD; Bruce G. MacMillan, MD; William A. Altemeier, MD
Arch Surg. 1968;97(2):215-224. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1968.01340020079009.
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INFECTION continues to be a problem of paramount importance in the care of the burn patient.1 Improved methods of resuscitation and improved topical and parenteral antibacterial agents have increased the survival time of the patient with major burns. In an analysis of the mortality figures of burn patients at the Cincinnati General Hospital, Altemeier et al2 found the mean day of death in 1942 to be the 11th postburn day. In comparison, the mean day of death in 1962 was the 31st postburn day. Many patients with major thermal burns are surviving the initial critical period following injury only to succumb to secondary complications in their postburn period. The pulmonary system has been found to contain lesions either contributing to or directly responsible for death in over 80% of the patients who have succumbed since Jan 1, 1966. The increasing incidence of pulmonary complications in burn patients has


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