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Burns. 2004 Feb;30(1):3-26.

Pseudomonas infections in the thermally injured patient.

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Division of Plastic Surgery, Department of Surgery, Firefighters' Burn Treatment Unit, 2D3.81 WMSHC, 8440-112 Street, University of Alberta, Alta., T6G 2B7, Edmonton, Canada.


Pseudomonas aeruginosa, remains a serious cause of infection and septic mortality in burn patients, particularly when nosocomially acquired. A prototypic burn patient who developed serious nosocomially acquired Pseudomonas infection is described as an index case which initiated investigations and measures taken to identify the source of the infection. The effect of changes in wound care to avoid further nosocomial infections was measured to provide data on outcome and cost of care. The bacteriology of Pseudomonas is reviewed to increase the burn care providers understanding of the behaviour of this very common and serious pathogen in the burn care setting, before reviewing the approach to detection of the organism and treatment both medically and surgically. After controlling the nosocomial spread of Pseudomonas in our burn unit, we investigated the morbidity and mortality associated with nosocomial infection with an aminoglycoside resistant Pseudomonas and the associated costs compared to a group of case-matched control patients with similar severity of burn injury, that did not acquire resistant Pseudomonas during hospitalization at our institution. We found a significant increase in the mortality rate in the Pseudomonas group compared to controls. The morbidity in terms of length of stay, ventilator days, number of surgical procedures, and the amount of blood products used were all significantly higher in the Pseudomonas group compared to controls. Costs associated with antibiotic requirements were also significantly higher in the Pseudomonas group. Despite this increased resource consumption necessary to treat Pseudomonas infections, these efforts did not prevent significantly higher mortality rates when compared to control patients who avoided infection with the resistant organism. Thus, in addition to the specific measures required to identify and treat nosocomial Pseudomonas infections in burn patients, prevention of infection through modification of treatment protocols together with continuous infection control measures to afford early identification and eradication of nosocomial Pseudomonas infection are critical for cost-effective, successful burn care.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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