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May 15, 1967

Heparin in the Treatment of Burns

Author Affiliations

La Jolla, Calif

JAMA. 1967;200(7):650-651. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03120200128037

To the Editor:—  Known since 1906 chiefly as an anticoagulant, heparin has serum lipid-clearing, anti-inflammatory, and antiallergenic properties.1-3 Its molecule carries a strong negative charge and it is the strongest antihistamine known.1,3 Dougherty has shown a chain reaction destruction of all living cells in tissue culture when some cells are injured. Heparin protects against this cellular lysis, presumably by inactivating histamine directly.3 Heparin has been reported as useful in allergic reactions, weeping eczema, laryngeal tracheal bronchitis, and acute and chronic asthma.2-6By inferential thinking, heparin could be extremely helpful in the treatment of burns—a thermal trauma infamous for its high loss of fluids, electrolyte, and protein. To test this hypothesis, I treated burn patients as follows:Eight acutely burned patients with first-, second-, and third-degree burns were seen in my office immediately after the thermal burn injury. Blisters were forming in all cases. Some patients had