Edward F. Adolph Distinguished Lecture. It's more than skin deep: Thermoregulatory and cardiovascular consequences of severe burn injuries in humans

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Each year, within the United States, tens of thousands of individuals are hospitalized for burn-related injuries. The treatment of deep burns often involves skin grafts to accelerate healing and reduce the risk of infection. The grafting procedure results in a physical disruption between the injured and subsequently debrided host site and the skin graft placed on top of that site. Both neural and vascular connections must occur between the host site and the graft for neural modulation of skin blood flow to take place. Furthermore, evaporative cooling from such burn injured areas is effectively absent, leading to greatly impaired thermoregulatory responses in individuals with large portions of their body surface area burned. Hospitalization following a burn injury can last weeks to months, with cardiovascular and metabolic consequences of such injuries having the potential to adversely affect the burn survivor for years post-discharge. With that background, the objectives of this article are to discuss 1) our current understanding of the physiology and associated consequences of skin grafting, 2) the effects of skin grafts on efferent thermoregulatory responses and the associated consequences pertaining to whole body thermoregulation, 3) approaches that may reduce the risk of excessive hyperthermia in burn survivors, 4) the long-term cardiovascular consequences of burn injuries, and 5) the extent to which burn survivors can “normalize” otherwise compromised cardiovascular responses. Our primary objective is to guide the reader toward an understanding that severe burn injuries result in significant physiological consequences that can persist for years after the injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1852-1866
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Volume131
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Aerobic capacity
  • Burn injury
  • Thermoregulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)

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