Purpura fulminans: A disease best managed in a burn center

David L. Brown, David G Greenhalgh, Glenn D. Warden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Victims of purpura fulminans are overcome by a rapidly progressive and sometimes fatal course involving large amounts of tissue loss and multiple organ system failure. From 1986 to 1995, seven children ranging in age from 10 months to 19 years (mean, 6.2 years) were referred to the Shriners Burns Institute in Cincinnati with purpura fulminans. Neisseria meningitidis was identified as the precipitating pathogen in most of the patients. The mean TBSA full-thickness skin loss was 33%. Fourteen extremities were amputated in the seven patients, including three patients with amputations of all four extremities. Transfer to our institution occurred after a mean delay of 20 days, usually after the demarcation of viable tissue. In one patient, however, fasciotomies obviated multiple impending amputations. Monitoring for elevated compartment pressures, early fasciotomies, and expedient transfer to a burn center for a multidiciplinary approach to care should improve the outcome in patients with purpura fulminans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-123
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Burn Care and Rehabilitation
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Surgery
  • Nursing(all)
  • Health Professions(all)
  • Emergency Medicine


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