A multicenter review of toxic epidermal necrolysis treated in U.S. burn centers at the end of the twentieth century

Tina L. Palmieri, D. G. Greenhalgh, J. R. Saffle, R. J. Spence, M. D. Peck, J. C. Jeng, D. W. Mozingo, C. J. Yowler, R. L. Sheridan, D. H. Ahrenholz, D. M. Caruso, K. N. Foster, R. J. Kagan, D. W. Voigt, G. F. Purdue, J. L. Hunt, S. Wolf, F. Molitor

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223 Scopus citations


Toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) is a potentially fatal disorder that involves large areas of skin desquamation. Patients with TEN are often referred to burn centers for expert wound management and comprehensive care. The purpose of this study was to define the presenting characteristics and treatment of TEN before and after admission to regional burn centers and to evaluate the efficacy of burn center treatment for this disorder. A retrospective multicenter chart review was completed for patients admitted with TEN to 15 burn centers from 1995 to 2000. Charts were reviewed for patient characteristics, nonburn hospital and burn center treatment, and outcome. A total of 199 patients were admitted. Patients had a mean age of 47 years, mean 67.7% total body surface area skin slough, and mean Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE II) score of 10. Sixty-four patients died, for a mortality rate of 32%. Mortality increased to 51% for patients transferred to a burn center more than one week after onset of disease. Burn centers and nonburn hospitals differed in their use of enteral nutrition (70 vs 12%, respectively, P < 0.05), prophylactic antibiotics (22 vs 37.9%, P < 0.05), corticosteroid use (22 vs 51%, P < 0.05), and wound management. Age, body surface area involvement, APACHE II score, complications, and parenteral nutrition before transfer correlated with increased mortality. The treatment of TEN differs markedly between burn centers and nonburn centers. Early transport to a burn unit is warranted to improve patient outcome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-96
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Burn Care and Rehabilitation
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • General Nursing
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Rehabilitation
  • General Health Professions


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