Infection Prevention: Unique Aspects of Burn Units

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Infection is a common complication of burn injury caused by the loss of skin (the primary defense against micro-organisms) as well as burn-induced immunosuppression. Essentially, survival after burn injury is determined by whether wound healing or infection predominates. The purpose of this article is to describe how burn unit structure and design may impact the incidence of infection after burn injury. Methods: This article describes the special considerations for burn unit structure and design based on burn pathophysiology, including burn-related immunosuppression and wound treatment. Particular emphasis is placed on how burn unit design should consider the immunosuppressed state of the burn patient. Results: Because many of the factors that promote wound healing also promote infection, burn unit design must prioritize infection prevention, including segregation and containment, environment layout and function, room cleaning, and isolation. Burn centers should have dedicated facilities with separation of patients, specialized room environment/equipment, and cleaning and wound care disinfection capabilities, with particular attention paid to surfaces, ventilation, temperature control, and patient movement to the operating room, radiology, and therapy. Conclusions: Because of the high infection potential associated with burn injury, burn units require meticulous attention to design and function to minimize patient infection risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-114
Number of pages4
JournalSurgical Infections
Volume20
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019

Keywords

  • burn unit structure
  • immunosuppression
  • infection prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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