, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 364-373
Date: 11 Nov 2012

Current Treatment Recommendations for Topical Burn Therapy

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Summary

Infections in burn patients continue to be the primary source of morbidity and mortality. Topical antimicrobial therapy remains the single most important component of wound care in hospitalised burn patients. The goal of prophylactic topical antimicrobial therapy is to control microbial colonisation and prevent burn wound infection. In selected clinical circumstances topical agents may be used to treat incipient or early burn wound infections. At the present time silver sulfadiazine is the most frequently used topical prophylactic agent; it is relatively inexpensive, easy to apply, well tolerated by patients, and has good activity against most burn pathogens. In patients with large burns the addition of cerium nitrate to silver sulfadiazine may improve bacterial control. Mafenide acetate has superior eschar-penetrating characteristics, making it the agent of choice for early treatment of burn wound sepsis. However, the duration and area of mafenide application must be limited because of systemic toxicity associated with prolonged or extensive use. Other agents, such as nitrofurazone or chlorhexidine preparations, may be useful in isolated clinical situations. The undesirable side effects of silver nitrate solution limit its use by most clinicians at the present time.