Transforming burn treatment: global consensus on second-degree wound care

Second-degree burns are among the most challenging injuries to manage due to their varying depths and healing potentials. Traditionally, the lack of standardized treatment protocols has led to inconsistent patient outcomes. Factors such as burn site, patient age, and burn extent further complicate treatment decisions. Addressing these challenges required a unified, evidence-based approach to manage these wounds effectively. Thus, an in-depth study and consensus were developed to tackle these critical issues in burn care.

Researchers from the Chinese Burn Association and Cross-Straits Medicine Exchange Association of China published the 2024 Consensus on the Treatment of Second-Degree Burn Wounds in Burns & Trauma on January 30, 2024. This guideline (DOI: 10.1093/burnst/tkad061) provides standardized recommendations for managing second-degree burns. The comprehensive document, backed by extensive expert opinions and evidence-based research, addresses various treatment aspects, including prehospital care, nonsurgical and surgical interventions, and infection management.

The consensus introduces a pioneering approach by classifying second-degree burns into superficial, shallow deep, and profound deep categories, enabling more precise treatment strategies. For prehospital first aid, it emphasizes immediate removal from the heat source and adequate cooling to prevent further damage. Noncontact diagnostic techniques, like laser Doppler imaging, are recommended to assess burn depth accurately. Nonsurgical treatments include using low-toxicity disinfectants and maintaining a moist wound environment. The consensus highlights biological dressings, such as allogeneic skin and amniotic membranes, for their protective and healing properties. For deep second-degree burns, enzymatic debridement with agents like collagenase and bromelain is advised to preserve viable tissue. Additionally, the guideline sets criteria for diagnosing and grading burn wound infections, ensuring timely interventions. By adopting these practices, the consensus aims to reduce complications and enhance recovery for burn patients.

Dr. Shizhao Ji, a leading researcher in burn treatment, stated, “The 2024 Consensus represents a significant advancement in burn care. By standardizing treatment protocols and incorporating evidence-based practices, we can ensure more consistent and improved outcomes for patients with second-degree burns. This guideline will serve as a vital tool for clinicians worldwide, enhancing the quality of care and recovery for burn victims.”

The implementation of these guidelines will revolutionize burn treatment with clear, evidence-based recommendations. This standardization will improve patient outcomes, facilitate consistent data collection and research, reduce healthcare costs, and enhance the quality of life for burn patients. Future updates will continue to refine and enhance burn care practices globally.





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Funding information

This work was funded by Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences Innovation Fund for Medical Sciences (2019-I2M-5-076); Shanghai Top Priority Research Center Project (2023ZZ02013); Key Program of National Natural Science Foundation of China (81930057); General Program of National Natural Science Foundation of China (81971836); Program of Shanghai Academic Research Leader (23XD1425000); Deep Blue Talent Project of Naval Medical University.

About Burns & Trauma

Burns & Trauma is an open access, peer-reviewed journal publishing the latest developments in basic, clinical, and translational research related to burns and traumatic injuries, with a special focus on various aspects of biomaterials, tissue engineering, stem cells, critical care, immunobiology, skin transplantation, prevention, and regeneration of burns and trauma injury.

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