The morphology of smoke inhalation injury in sheep

Gene B. Hubbard Dvm, Paulette C. Langlinais, Takeshi Shimazu, Carlin V. Okerberg, Arthur D. Mason, Basil A. Pruitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Pulmonary injury resulting from inhalation of chemical and particulate products of incomplete combustion is one of the principal determinants of mortality following burn injury. In this study, the histopathology of inhalation injury was examined in sheep. Mild, moderate, or severe smoke injury was produced in anesthetized sheep by insufflation with various doses of ambient temperature smoke, generated by burning polyethylene, wood pulp, and nonwoven cellulose pads. A total of 64 sheep were exposed and evaluated at times ranging from 15 minutes to 4 weeks after exposure. Morphologic changes in the lungs were studied using light microscopy and both transmission and scanning electron microscopy. The primary, dose-responsive injury observed was acute cell membrane damage in the trachea and bronchi leading to edema, progressive necrotic tracheobronchitis with pseudomembrane formation, and airway obstruction. These inflammatory and occlusive effects were followed by congestion, alveolar space edema, atelectasis, and bronchopneumonia. Morphologic changes occurring in the alveolar epithelium following high smoke dosage included intracellular edema in type-I cells, changes in the membrane-bound vacuoles of type-II cells, and septal thickening caused by interstitial edema. No capillary endothelial changes were observed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1477-1486
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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