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March 1961

Red Cell Destruction Following Experimental Thermal Burns

Arch Surg. 1961;82(3):360-365. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1961.01300090030006

The anemia following thermal burns has been well documented. That this anemia is real and due to a fall in red cell volume as a result of initial hemolysis and the disappearance of red cells from the circulation, rather than a pseudoanemia due to an increased plasma volume, was initially suggested by Cope2 and established more recently by the work of Davies and Topely.4 While this work has shown that there is a serious and rapid disappearance of red cells in the period of 13-48 postburn hours, the immediate effect of the burn on red cell destruction would seem of considerable importance, implying as it does the type of early replacement therapy.

The direct effect of heat on red cell destruction was first studied by Shen and Ham9 and since that time by several other investigators. Moore and associates,6 using radioactive iron, found immediate losses of

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