Background: Acute traumatic coagulopathy is well described in the trauma population. Major burns are characterised by a similar endothelial injury and cellular hypoperfusion. These features could be a driver for an acute burn induced coagulopathy (ABIC).
Methods: Patients admitted to a regional burn centre over a 71 months period with a total body surface area burn of 30% or more were identified. The metavision electronic patient database was scrutinised for a predetermined list of demographics, interventions and admission investigations to identify any clinically significant ABIC.
Results: On admission 39.3% of the 117 patients analysed met our criteria for a coagulopathy. Of the patients with a coagulopathy, 71.7% had an elevated Prothrombin Time (PT), 2.2% had an elevated Activated Partial Thromboplastin time (APPT) and 26.1% had an elevation of both. Patients with a coagulopathy received a similar volume of fluid (p=0.08). There was a statistically significant correlation between the PT and the abbreviated burn severity index (p=0.0013, r=0.292) and serum lactate (p=0.0013, r=0.292). ABIC was an independent predictor of 28 day mortality, OR 3.42(1.11-10.56).
Conclusion: In patients with major thermal injuries a clinically significant ABIC exists. Early diagnosis and treatment of ABIC should be considered particularly in those undergoing total burn wound excision.
Keywords: Abbreviated burn severity index (ABSI); Activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT); Burn; Coagulopathy; Prothrombin time (PT).
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