Antishear Therapy for Stevens-Johnson Syndrome and Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis: A Follow-up Study

J Burn Care Res. 2021 Nov 24;42(6):1152-1161. doi: 10.1093/jbcr/irab155.


Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis (SJS/TEN) are life-threatening conditions best approached with multidisciplinary burn-equivalent care. There is a lack of consensus on wound management, in particular, whether to debride detached epidermis. Our center instituted "antishear" wound therapy 35 years ago, where detached skin is left in situ as a biologic dressing and a standardized protocol avoids shear forces to prevent further desquamation. Our center's initial results showed outcomes comparable to SCORTEN predictions, but advancements in burn critical care necessitate a reevaluation of the antishear approach. A retrospective chart review was conducted for all patients admitted between June 2004 and May 2020 with a dermatologist-confirmed diagnosis of SJS/TEN (N = 51). All patients were treated with burn-equivalent critical care and antishear wound therapy. Standardized mortality ratios were calculated using the established SCORTEN, and newly developed ABCD-10, prediction models. Mean SCORTEN, ABCD-10, and %TBSA were 2.6, 2.0, and 28%. Overall mortality was 22%; SCORTEN score (P < .001), ABCD-10 score (P < .01), %TBSA involved (P = .02), and development of multisystem organ failure (P < .001) correlated with increased mortality. Cohort-wide standardized mortality based on ABCD-10 was 1.18 (P = .79). Standardized mortality based on SCORTEN was 0.62 (P = .20) and 0.77 (P = .15) for patients with scores ≤3 and >3; across the cohort it was 0.71 (P = .11), representing a 29% mortality reduction. Incorporating the antishear approach as part of burn-equivalent care for SJS/TENs led to outcomes comparable to those predicted for surgical debridement via SCORTEN. However, the antishear approach has the advantage of avoiding painful dressing changes, sedation, and general anesthesia required for surgical debridement.

MeSH terms

  • Body Surface Area
  • Burns / complications
  • Burns / therapy*
  • Coated Materials, Biocompatible / therapeutic use*
  • Critical Care / methods*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Stevens-Johnson Syndrome / etiology
  • Stevens-Johnson Syndrome / therapy*
  • Wound Healing


  • Coated Materials, Biocompatible