The impact of non-severe burn injury on cardiac function and long-term cardiovascular pathology
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Severe burn injury significantly affects cardiovascular function for up to 3 years. However, whether this leads to long-term pathology is unknown. The impact of non-severe burn injury, which accounts for over 80% of admissions in developed countries, has not been investigated. Using a rodent model of non-severe burn injury with subsequent echocardiography we showed significantly increased left ventricular end systolic diameter (LVESD) and ventricular wall thickness at up to 3 months post-injury. Use of propranolol abrogated the changes in cardiac measures observed. Subsequently we investigated changes in a patient cohort with non-severe injury. Echocardiography measured at baseline and at 3 months post-injury showed increased LVESD at 3 months and significantly decreased posterior wall diameter. Finally, 32 years of Western Australian hospital records were used to investigate the incidence of cardiovascular disease admissions after burn injury. People who had experienced a burn had increased hospital admissions and length of stay for cardiovascular diseases when compared to a matched uninjured cohort. This study presents animal, patient and population data that strongly suggest non-severe burn injury has significant effects on cardiovascular function and long-term morbidity in some burn patients. Identification of patients at risk will promote better intervention and outcomes for burn patients.
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