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It is quite generally accepted that clinical manifestations, anatomic findings and experimental evidence all indicate that extensive superficial burns are followed by severe toxemia which not infrequently results fatally within a few days. Of the lesions found at necropsy, emphasis has been placed on cloudy swelling of the liver and kidneys, focal degeneration in the splenic lymph nodules, and degenerative changes in the lymph nodes and intestinal lymph nodules.
My necropsy experience in uncomplicated cases of superficial burns fatal within a few days has shown that, in addition to the lesions mentioned, in all of these cases there occur changes in the suprarenals which are more or less characteristic. In fact, these changes in the suprarenals are the most prominent and characteristic of the necropsy findings.
The suprarenals are markedly swollen and deep red. The perisuprarenal fat tissue shows marked edema. On section, certain areas suggest extensive hemorrhage obliterating the
WEISKOTTEN HG. FATAL SUPERFICIAL BURNS AND THE SUPRARENALS: NOTE ON THE OCCURRENCE OF SUPRARENAL LESIONS IN UNCOMPLICATED FATAL CASES OF EXTENSIVE SUPERFICIAL BURNS. JAMA. 1917;LXIX(10):776. doi:10.1001/jama.1917.02590370012005
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