Emergency department management of patients with thermal burns

Emerg Med Pract. 2018 Feb;20(2):1-24. Epub 2018 Feb 1.


Thermal burn injuries are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. In addition to treatment of the burns, emergency clinicians must assess for inhalation injury, exposure to toxic gases, and related traumatic injuries. Priorities for emergency resuscitation include stabilization of airway and breathing, intravenous fluid administration, pain control, and local wound care. Special populations, including children and pregnant women, require additional treatment considerations. Referral to specialized burn care for select patients is necessary to improve long-term outcomes. This article reviews thermal burn classification and evidence-based treatment strategies.

MeSH terms

  • Burns / complications*
  • Burns / physiopathology
  • Burns / therapy*
  • Disease Management*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / organization & administration
  • Fluid Therapy / methods
  • Humans
  • Pain Management / methods
  • Resuscitation / methods