The importance of cyanide toxicity as a component of inhalational injury in patients with burns is increasingly being recognised, and its prompt recognition and management is vital for optimising burns survival. The evidence base for the use of cyanide antidotes is limited by a lack of randomised controlled trials in humans, and in addition consideration must be given to the concomitant pathophysiological processes in patients with burns when interpreting the literature. We present a literature review of the evidence base for cyanide antidotes with interpretation in the context of patients with burns. We conclude that hydroxycobalamin should be utilised as the first-line antidote of choice in patients with burns with inhalational injury where features consistent with cyanide toxicity are present.
Keywords: Burns; Cyanide; Dicobalt edetate; Hydroxycobalamin; Inhalation injury; Sodium nitrite; Sodium thiosulphate.
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