Direct current reduces wound edema after full-thickness burn injury in rats

Chi Sing Chu, Natalia P. Matylevich, Albert T. McManus, Arthur D. Mason, Basil A. Pruitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Objective: To observe the effect of 4 and 40 μA direct current (DC) on edema formation after burn injury in rats. Design, Materials, and Methods: Silver-nylon wound dressings were used as either anodes (-) or cathodes (+) on 20% total body surface area full-thickness scalds in anesthetized male Sprague-Dawley rats. Untreated burned rats and rats treated with silver- nylon dressings without current were used as controls. Measurements and Main Results: Immediately applied, continuous DC reduced burn edema by 17 to 48% at different times up to 48 hours postburn (p < 0.001). Neither reversal of electrode polarity nor change in current density had any significant effect on the results of treatment. Starting treatment during the first 8 hours postburn produced the least edema accumulation, but the reduction was significant even when DC was applied 36 hours afterburn. If started immediately after injury, treatment had to be continued a minimum of 8 hours to be most effective. Conclusions: Direct electric current has a beneficial effect in reducing wound edema after burn injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)738-742
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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