Treatment for Inhalation Injuries


Most of the fire-related deaths are caused by harmful fumes. Inhalation injury is the main cause of fire-related deaths. Although treatment of cutaneous bum injuries has greatly improved patient survival, inhalation injury remains a clinical challenge. In this article, I'll review the current methods of identifying and treating fire-related inhalation injury.


Inhalation injury is acute respiratory tract damage caused by superheated steam or toxic gases, vapors, or chemicals adherent to smoke particles. The severity of the damage depends in part on the chemical composition and concentration and on the victim's length of exposure time. Older patients and those with existing pulmonary diseases may experience more severe pulmonary dysfunction after inhalation injury.

Toxic inhalants fall into two categories: asphyxiants and chemical irritants. Isolated thermal or chemical injuries are rare: Typically the lung injury is a result of a combination of agents.

Inhalation injury may occur anywhere along the respiratory zone. Because treatment differs depending upon the location of the injury, the health care team must find out if the harm is supraglottic, is tracheobronchial (major airways), or involves the lung parenchyma.

Most of the fire-related deaths are caused by harmful fumes.
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