Difficult to Treat Infections in the Burn Patient

Kathryn Lago, Catherine F. Decker, Kevin K. Chung*, Dana Blyth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Unusual infections can lead to complications in more severely burned patients and pose major challenges in treatment. Methods: The published literature of retrospective reviews and case series of the uncommon infections of osteomyelitis, polymicrobial bacteremia, recurrent bacteremia, endocarditis, central nervous system (CNS), and rare fungal infections in burned patients have been summarized and presented. Results: When compared with infections occurring in the non-burn population, these infections in burn patients are more likely to be because of gram-negative bacteria or fungi. Because of hyperdynamic physiology and changes in immunomodulatory response secondary to burns, the clinical presentation of these infections in a patient with major burns differs from that of the non-burn patient and may not be identified until the post-mortem examination. Some of these infections (osteomyelitis, endocarditis, CNS, rare fungal infections) may necessitate surgical intervention in addition to antimicrobial therapy to achieve cure. The presence of the burn and allograft can also present unique challenges for surgical management. Conclusions: These difficult and unusual infections in the severely burned patient necessitate an index of suspicion, appropriate diagnosis, identification and sensitivities of the putative pathogen, effective systemic antimicrobial therapy, and appropriate surgical intervention if recovery is to be achieved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-102
Number of pages8
JournalSurgical Infections
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • bacteremia
  • burn sepsis
  • fungal infections


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