Alterations of mental status and thyroid hormones after thermal injury

George M. Vaughan, Arthur D. Mason, William F. McManus, Basil A. Pruitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


In 16 burn patients, mean values for serum T4 and T3, their T3 uptake-derived free indices (FT4I and FT3I) and dialysis-derived free concentrations (FT4 and FT3) were depressed all P < 0.001) compared to respective means in 13 normal subjects. In the patients, the free hormone indices were relatively more depressed below control values than were the free hormone concentrations. However, within the group of burn patients, variation in FT4I reflected that of FT4 (r = 0.91), and variation in FT3I reflected that of FT3 (r = 0.93). We then studied serum T4, T3, and their free indices in 134 patients (burn size, 696% of the skin area), including 45 nonsurvivors, none of whom received steroid, dopamine, or iodine treatment. At each sampling, the level of obtundation (LO) was determined on a 6point scale from normal to deep coma. Whereas initially low mean FT4I values rose in survivors, they remained lower in nonsurvivors than in survivors until death in the nonsurvivors. In nonsurvivors, mean LO worsened in the first week and remained worse than that in survivors until death. Multiple regression analyses showed that for a given age or burn size, nonsurvival was better correlated with lower T4 or FT4I than with T3 or FT3I, but was even more closely correlated with worse LO (P < 0.001). Exclusion of data obtained within 24 h ofnarcotic or tranquilizer doses did not weaken the relationship of nonsurvival with LO and FT4I. Nonsurvival after burn injury as associated with reduced T4, FT4I, and mental status for up to weeks before death, this association being independent of treatment with drugs acting on mental status or thyroid function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1221-1225
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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