Deep or widespread burns can lead to many complications, including:
Aug. 21, 2012
- Infection. Burns can leave skin vulnerable to bacterial infection and increase your risk of sepsis, a life-threatening infection that travels through your bloodstream and affects your whole body. Sepsis is a rapidly progressing, life-threatening condition that can cause shock and organ failure.
- Low blood volume (hypovolemia). Burns can damage blood vessels and cause fluid loss. This may result in low blood volume (hypovolemia). Severe blood and fluid loss prevents the heart from pumping enough blood to the body.
- Dangerously low body temperature (hypothermia). The skin helps control the body's temperature, so when a large portion of the skin is injured, you lose body heat. This increases your risk of hypothermia — when the body loses heat faster than it can produce heat, causing a dangerously low body temperature.
- Breathing (respiratory) problems. Breathing hot air or smoke can burn airways and cause breathing difficulties. Smoke inhalation damages the lungs and can cause respiratory failure.
- Scarring. Burns can cause scars and keloids — ridged areas caused by an overgrowth of scar tissue.
- Bone and joint problems. Deep burns can limit movement of the bones and joints. Scar tissue can form and cause contractures, when skin, muscles or tendons shorten and tighten, permanently pulling joints out of position.
- Wolff K, et al. Fitzpatrick's Color Atlas and Synopsis of Clinical Dermatology. 6th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2009. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=45. Accessed June 6, 2012.
- Purdue GF, et al. Acute assessment and management of burn injuries. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America. 2011;22:201.
- Marx JA, et al. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05472-0..X0001-1--TOP&isbn=978-0-323-05472-0&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed June 6, 2012.
- Kowalske KJ. Burn wound care. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America. 2011;22:213.
- Burns. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/injuries_poisoning/burns/burns.html?qt=burns&alt=sh. Accessed June 6, 2012.
- Goldman L, et al. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/191371208-2/0/1492/0.html#. Accessed June 7, 2012.
- Claypool DW (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. June 27, 2012.
- Morgan ED, et al. Treatment of minor thermal burns. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed June 8, 2012.
- Leon-Villapalos J, et al. Principles of burn reconstruction: Overview of surgical procedures. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed June 8, 2012.
- SOAR: Survivors offering assistance in recovery. Phoenix Society. http://www.phoenix-society.org/programs/soar. Accessed June 8, 2012.
- Peck MD. Prevention of fire and burn injuries. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed June 8, 2012.
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