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Friction Burns in Children: Does Laser Doppler Imaging Have a Role?

Menon, Seema MBBS*†; Ward, Diane RN*; Harvey, John G. FRCS, FRACS*†; Hei, Erik La FRACS*†; Holland, Andrew J. A. PhD, FRCS, FRACS, FACS*†

doi: 10.1097/BCR.0b013e3182504469
Original Articles

Laser Doppler imaging (LDI) has been increasingly used to predict pediatric burn wound outcome. A majority of these wounds are scald, contact, or flame burns. No study has specifically evaluated the use of LDI in pediatric friction burns. Our objective was to critically evaluate LDI assessment of pediatric friction burns to determine its predictive value with this mechanism of injury. We conducted a retrospective review of all LDI scans performed on pediatric friction burns during a 2-year period. We identified 36 patients with a mean age of 3.6 years (range, 19 months to 15 years). LDI accurately predicted burn wound outcome in 23 (64%) cases. In 13 cases, LDI did not correctly predict burn wound outcome. Eight were expected to heal within 14 days, but six of those eight took an average of 20.3 days to heal (range, 18–29 days), and the other two required skin grafting. Of the remaining five incorrect predictions, four were caused by an inability to correlate the flux scan with the clinical appearance of the burn, and one was thought to take more than 21 days to heal but healed within this period. Our data suggest that LDI appears to be a less reliable tool in predicting the outcome of friction burns when compared to other mechanisms of burn injury in children. This may reflect the physical differences in the mechanism of friction burns as opposed to other forms of thermal injury.

From the *Burns Unit and The Children’s Hospital Burns Research Institute; and Douglas Cohen Department of Pediatric Surgery, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Sydney Medical School, The University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Address correspondence to Andrew J. A. Holland, PhD, FRCS, FRACS, FACS, Douglas Cohen Department of Pediatric Surgery, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Locked Bag 4001, Westmead, New South Wales 2145, Australia.

© 2012 The American Burn Association