The use of biopsies in burn patient care

Basil A. Pruitt, F. Daniel Foley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Systematic planned biopsies of areas of burn wound change, hemorrhagic cutaneous lesions, vesicular or crusted ulcerative lesions, tissues suspected of being necrotic, and previously cannulated veins carried out in 65 of 267 burn patients were of diagnostic and prognostic value. Burn wound biopsies, classified as to depth of infection, confirmed the frequent occurrence of fungal, bacterial, and viral infections in burn wounds and documented the importance of increasing severity of infection on successive biopsies. Biopsy findings prompted alteration of wound therapy in 25 patients. Eighty-five percent of biopsies for suspected burn wound infections were positive, and the severity of infection was related to the number of deaths. In 14 patients with deep thermal or electric injury, biopsies confirmed the need for amputation and indicated the extent of excision required and subsequently the need for further debridement. Biopsies in two patients suggested the diagnosis of disseminated intravascular coagulation which was confirmed by coagulation studies. Four (15 percent) of 27 patients undergoing biopsy of previously cannulated veins because of clinical sepsis and no other apparent source of infection were found to have suppurative thrombophlebitis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)887-897
Number of pages11
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1973

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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