• Burn patients in an early cohort (n =173) treated in an intensive care ward without separate enclosures were compared with a later cohort (n = 213) treated in a renovated unit with separate bed enclosures. The number of patients developing infection was significantly reduced in the late group. Observed mortality was compared with mortality predicted on the basis of burn size and age alone. Reduction in observed compared with predicted mortality, inapparent in the early group, was seen in the late group and was restricted to the subgroup of patients with predicted mortality of 25% to 75%, in which the observed mortality of 28.3% was less than the predicted mortality of 48.7%. The incidence of infected patients was reduced from 58.1% in the early cohort to 30.4% in the late cohort. In comparison of the early cohort with the late cohort, the overall proportion of patients with bacteremia was reduced from 20.1% to 9.4%, while the incidences of both pneumonia and burn wound invasion remained unchanged. Providencia and Pseudomonas species, endemic in the early cohort, were eliminated in the late cohort. Reduction of infection by environmental manipulation in burn patients was possible and was associated with improved survival.
(Arch Surg 1986;121:31-36)