Influence of burn size on the incidence of contamination of burn wounds by fecal organisms

R. Y.D. Fleming, S. T. Zeigler, M. A. Walton, D. N. Herndon, J. P. Heggers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Ischemia and reperfusion injury of the gut mucosa after severe injury have been shown to allow endogenous gastrointestinal tract microorganisms to pass into systemic areas (bacterial translocation); this has been hypothesized as a source of burn-wound contamination. To study this phenomenon, 53 pediatrie patients with burns underwent routine fecal culture at the time of admission. These cultures were compared with wound cultures that were obtained at the time of admission and throughout their hospitalisation. Patients were grouped according to burn size: Small (1% to 20% total body surface area burned), Moderate (21% to 50%), and Severe (>50%). The incidence of corresponding isolates was determined for each group and compared by analysis of variance. No difference in the frequency of corresponding isolates could be demonstrated between the Small (4.0%) and Moderate (7.7%) groups, whereas the Severe group (53.3%) demonstrated a significantly larger incidence of corresponding isolates (p < 0.0001). Translocation of gut flora after severe burn injury may account for some instances of burn-wound contamination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)510-515
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Burn Care and Rehabilitation
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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