INTRODUCTION: Abnormal fibrinolysis early after injury has been associated with increased mortality in trauma patients, but no studies have addressed patients with burn injury. This prospective cohort study aimed to characterize fibrinolytic phenotypes in burn patients and to see if they were associated with mortality. METHODS: Patients presenting to a regional burn centre within 4 h of thermal injury were included. Blood was collected for sequential viscoelastic measurements using thromboelastography (RapidTEG™) over 12 h. The percentage decrease in clot strength 30 min after the time of maximal clot strength (LY30) was used to categorize patients into hypofibrinolytic/fibrinolytic shutdown (SD), physiological (PHYS) and hyperfibrinolytic (HF) phenotypes. Injury characteristics, demographics and outcomes were compared. RESULTS: Of 115 included patients, just over two thirds were male. Overall median age was 40 (i.q.r. 28-57) years and median total body surface area (TBSA) burn was 13 (i.q.r. 6-30) per cent. Some 42 (36.5 per cent) patients had severe burns affecting over 20 per cent TBSA. Overall mortality was 18.3 per cent. At admission 60.0 per cent were PHYS, 30.4 per cent were SD and 9.6 per cent HF. HF was associated with increased risk of mortality on admission (odds ratio 12.61 (95 per cent c.i. 1.12 to 142.57); P = 0.041) but not later during the admission when its incidence also decreased. Admission SD was not associated with mortality, but incidence increased and by 4 h and beyond, SD was associated with increased mortality, compared with PHYS (odds ratio 8.27 (95 per cent c.i. 1.16 to 58.95); P = 0.034). DISCUSSION: Early abnormal fibrinolytic function is associated with mortality in burn patients.
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