• Among 740 patients with acute burns who were admitted to our burn center from 1972 through 1975, thirty-six required upper airway access within the first 24 hours after burn for oral and facial burns or smoke inhalation. Nasotracheal intubation was initially used. Twelve survived; 11 were successfully extubated and one required a tracheostomy. If the patient had not sustained major smoke inhalation, extubation was usually possible without tracheostomy when edema subsided between one and six days after the burn. It is concluded that endotracheal intubation is a satisfactory method of gaining airway control in severe oral and facial burns and in smoke inhalation. The mortality associated with orofacial burns or smoke inhalation is related to the degree of lung damage, patient's age, and the extent of the burn; it is not related to the method of upper airway control.
(Arch Surg 111:744-749, 1976)