A 15-year review of pediatric toxic epidermal necrolysis

J Burn Care Res. Jan-Feb 2015;36(1):130-6. doi: 10.1097/BCR.0000000000000208.


Owing to the rare, yet serious nature of toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) and Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS), the authors would like to describe our experience with 41 pediatric patients to contribute to the current clinical understanding of the disease. From records at a single institution, 41 patients ≤18 years of age with a diagnosis of SJS or TEN were retrospectively identified. Data were obtained from the hospital's medical record, and a variety of variables were collected, including causative agent, percentage of total body surface area (%TBSA) slough, ocular involvement, medical treatment, operative procedures, time to wound closure, ventilator days, intensive care unit length of stay, and associated hospital mortality. Of the pediatric TEN patients included, the mean epidermal sloughing was 39.7 ± 26% TBSA. The presumptive inciting agent was a medication in 90% of cases. Mycoplasma pneumoniae was implicated in two cases (5%). The average time between onset of symptoms and burn intensive care unit admission was 3.6 ± 2.0 days. Acutely, 73% of patients exhibited ocular involvement, 90% needed supplemental enteral nutritional support, and 51% required mechanical ventilation. On average, subjects spent 19.9 ± 13.9 days in the intensive care unit. While acute mortality was 0%, 100% of patients still experienced long-term complications and 30% required follow-up procedures. When compared to current literature, the outcomes of our patients were similar to that of pediatric TEN at other institutions. While acute mortality is typically better within the pediatric population, patients still experience a significant level of morbidity and have serious long-term sequelae.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / adverse effects
  • Anticonvulsants / adverse effects
  • Burn Units*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Critical Care*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Mycoplasma pneumoniae
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Stevens-Johnson Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Stevens-Johnson Syndrome / etiology
  • Stevens-Johnson Syndrome / therapy*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Anticonvulsants