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April 1970

Intravenous Therapy in Burn Patients: Suppurative Thrombophlebitis and Other Life-Threatening Complications

Author Affiliations

Fort Sam Houston, Tex
From the US Army Institute of Surgical Research, Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Tex.

Arch Surg. 1970;100(4):399-404. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1970.01340220075013

Since the institution of effective topical chemotherapy in the treatment of thermal injury, mortality has significantly decreased.1 Control of burn wound sepsis has called attention to other life-threatening complications in burn patients.2 Among the extensively burned patients who still die, sepsis of other than burn-wound origin remains the most common cause of death.3

Cannulation of a vein for the rapid administration of fluid via a secure pathway is required during the resuscitation period of the larger (greater than 20%) burn.4 An intravenous plastic cannula is also useful in the prolonged administration of certain medications, for optimum physiologic monitoring, and for carrying out intravenous hyperalimentation. Fatal complications of intravenous therapy have become relatively more common as an autopsy diagnosis in burn patients. Suppurative thrombophlebitis, now the most common source of infection in burn patients dying with sepsis, must be considered as a possible initiating focus of hematogenous

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