Advances in airway management and mechanical ventilation in inhalation injury

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PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Airway management, mechanical ventilation, and treatment of systemic poisoning in burn patients with inhalation injury remains challenging. This review summarizes new concepts as well as open questions. RECENT FINDINGS: Several life-threatening complications, such as airway patency impairment and respiratory insufficiency, can arise in burn patients and require adequate and timely airway management. However, unnecessary endotracheal intubation should be avoided. Direct visual inspection via nasolaryngoscopy can guide appropriate airway management decisions. In cases of lower airway injury, bronchoscopy is recommended to remove casts and estimate the extent of the injury in intubated patients. Several mechanical ventilation strategies have been studied. An interesting modality might be high-frequency percussive ventilation. However, to date, there is no sound evidence that patients with inhalation injury should be ventilated with modes other than those applied to non-burn patients. In all burn patients exposed to enclosed fire, carbon monoxide as well as cyanide poisoning should be suspected. Carbon monoxide poisoning should be treated with an inspiratory oxygen fraction of 100%, whereas cyanide poisoning should be treated with hydroxocobalamin. SUMMARY: Burn patients need specialized care that requires specific knowledge about airway management, mechanical ventilation, and carbon monoxide and cyanide poisoning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)774-780
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent opinion in anaesthesiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020

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