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January 1969

Aqueous Silver Nitrate (0.5%) in the Treatment of Nonthermal War Wounds

Author Affiliations

Portsmouth, NH
From the Department of Surgery, Portsmouth Naval Hospital, Portsmouth, NH.

Arch Surg. 1969;98(1):119-120. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1969.01340070137032

Rapid evacuation and sophisticated initial treatment has notably enhanced the overall survival of those wounded in the Vietnam conflict. Following injury, the patients undergo wound cleansing and debridement at nearby field hospitals. When stabilized, they are transferred in stages to other military institutions for definitive care. Many wounds become infected through unavoidable interruptions in therapy during transit.

Aqueous silver nitrate (AGNO3) (0.5%) is effective as a topical bacteriostatic agent in massively burned patients.1 Its use against a wide variety of organisms has been demonstrated.2,3 The arrival of a series of patients with infected war wounds at Portsmouth Naval Hospital has stimulated the application of the solution on such nonthermal soft tissue injuries.

Materials and Methods  Twenty-three missile and schrapnel wounds received by 12 patients an average of five days before admission were studied. The injuries varied between localized avulsions of skin and underlying muscle, to massive soft