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Burns. 2000 Mar;26(2):200-4.

Cannula related suppurative thrombophlebitis in the burned patient.

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Department of Burns and Plastic Surgery, Queen Mary's University Hospital, London, UK.


Suppurative thrombophlebitis is a well recognised and potentially fatal complication of intravenous cannulation in burns patients. We report a case of an Afro-Caribbean patient with noninsulin-dependent diabetes who developed signs of systemic sepsis two weeks after a 14% total body surface area flame burn. Despite an initial paucity of clinical signs at the cannulation site, exploratory venotomy revealed frank suppuration within the long saphenous vein from the ankle to the groin. This was treated successfully by total excision of the vein and its tributaries and delayed wound closure. Following this, a retrospective analysis of the measured clinical parameters and blood tests revealed no obvious, missed pointers to the impending sepsis other than a dramatic increase in the overall daily insulin requirement. This had doubled over a 48-h period, preceding the clinical diagnosis by three days. The relevant literature and guidelines for management are reviewed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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