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Burns Incl Therm Inj. 1983 Nov;10(2):124-6.

Assessment of burn wound sepsis by swab, full thickness biopsy culture and blood culture--a comparative study.


Fifty patients with burns ranging from 30 to 50 per cent of their body surface area were monitored for sepsis throughout their hospital stay using swab, blood and full thickness biopsy culture techniques. The relative merits of these techniques in the diagnosis of burn wound sepsis were evaluated. Only 62.5 per cent of the patients with a positive surface culture showed signs of clinical sepsis, while 87.5 per cent of the patients with significant bacterial count on biopsy culture showed signs of clinical sepsis. A decrease in bacterial count on follow up correlated with clinical improvement while a count of 10(8) orgs/gm indicated a bad prognosis. Wound surface cultures, though the simplest method gave poor indication of the organisms invading into the burn wound. Blood cultures were of only prognostic value. Full thickness biopsy culture and quantification of the number of bacteria in the burn wound was felt to be the best method for rapid diagnosis and for assessing the progress of burn wound infection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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