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July 1965

Effectiveness of Dilute Aqueous Silver Nitrate in the Treatment of Major Burns

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, and the John A. Hartford Burn Unit, Barnes Hospital.

Arch Surg. 1965;91(1):200-210. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1965.01320130202024

MOORHEAD, more than 30 years ago, aptly defined burns as "infected wounds caused by heat."7 This definition is still a valid one. Although a significant improvement in the mortality from burns that cover less than 30% of the body surface has been observed in the last 60 years, there has been little or no decline during this time in burn mortality from injuries covering 50% or more of the body surface. During the past 12 years, there has been no decrease in the area of burn that kills half of those affected (LD50).9 Moreover, the mortality attending deep burns of as little as 30% to 40% of the body surface is still unacceptable, approaching 30%. Sepsis originating in the burn wound accounts for the greatest share of this mortality. Until now, no effective means of preventing bacterial colonization of major burn wounds has existed. None of the