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October 1969

Silver and Intestinal Flora: Roles in Bacterial Colonization of Burn Wounds

Author Affiliations

St. Louis
From the Department of Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis.

Arch Surg. 1969;99(4):454-458. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1969.01340160034007

This study was undertaken to investigate the role of the intestinal flora and the effects of silver in the gastrointestinal tract upon colonization by the gram-negative bacteria of burn wounds treated with 0.5% silver nitrate. Bacteria cultured from burn wounds and feces of burned patients treated with 0.5% silver nitrate were compared. Sensitivity of wound and fecal bacteria to silver was measured and the concentration of silver which inhibits growth of bacteria was determined.

Infection of burn wounds causes much of the morbidity and mortality associated with thermal injuries.1 Generally, three routes of infection are recognized: air-borne; iatrogenic infection caused by or related to the attending personnel or other patients; and bacteria indigenous to the patient. Lowbury and Lilly,2 and Bourdillon and Colebrook3 found sharp increases in number of bacteria in the air of burn dressing rooms when dressings were changed. On the other hand, Monafo et al

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