Local and systemic treatments for acute edema after burn injury: A systematic review of the literature

Dale Wesley Edgar, Joel S. Fish, Manuel Gomez, Fiona Melanie Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Burn injury is a complex trauma that results in local and generalized edema. Edema fluid limits the exchange of vital nutrients in healing the burn wound and will compromise vulnerable tissues. Although the importance of edema control in tissue salvage is recognized, treatments targeted at edema control have not been critically reviewed. Thus, the objective was to assess the evidence for the effectiveness of local and systemic treatments for edema management immediately after burn injury. Searches for randomized controlled trials were conducted of online databases, research and thesis registers, and grey literature repositories. Handsearches included journals, bibliographies, and proceedings. Authors were contacted to clarify and submit extra study details. Eight studies were included. Management of acute major burn resuscitation including colloid increases lung edema (mean difference [MD], 0.04 ml/ml alv vol; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.03-0.04; P <.00001) and mortality (risk ratio, 3.67; 95% CI, 1.16-11.58; P =.03). Continuous administration of vitamin C in acute burn resuscitation reduces local wound edema (MD,-3.50 ml/g; 95% CI,-4.63 to-2.37; P <.00001) and systemic fluid retention (MD,-8.60 kg; 95% CI,-13.47 to-3.73; P =.0005). Local acute hand burn edema is reduced (MD,-29.00 ml; 95% CI,-53.14 to-4.86; P =.02), and active hand motion increased (MD, 10.00°; 95% CI, 4.58-15.42; P =.0003), using electrical stimulation with usual physiotherapy. Each review outcome was based on a small single-facility study. Thus, future research in intervention for acute burn edema must focus on multicentre trials and validation of outcome measures in the burn population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)334-347
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Burn Care and Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2011


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