Comparing Topical Antimicrobials with Silver-nylon Dressings for Military Burn Casualties

Research Paper Title

The Use of a Silver-Nylon Dressing During Evacuation of Military Burn Casualties.

Background

The military has used silver-nylon dressings as a topical antimicrobial on combat-related burns for the past 15 years. However, their clinical efficacy and associated risks have not been evaluated. Herein, the authors document our experience with the use of a specific silver-nylon dressing (Silverlon®) during global evacuation of casualties from combat zones to the United States sArmy Institute of Surgical Research Burn Center.

Methods

A 10-year retrospective analysis was performed. Variables included patient demographics, total body surface area, length of stay, Injury Severity Score, incidence of urinary tract and burn infections, pneumonia, patient status at the time of discharge, and a composite endpoint. The patient cohort was stratified into two groups:

  • Group 1: Silverlon®; and
  • Group 2: Topical antimicrobial agents.

Results

Data were analysed using appropriate statistical tests (P ≤ .05). Nine hundred eighty-eight patients (26 ± 6 years) were identified with 184 patients (Group 1) and 804 patients (Group 2). Silver-nylon dressings trended toward decreased wound infection rate (5.4 vs 9.5%) even when applied to full-thickness burn injuries.

When compared with topical antimicrobial agents, the silver-nylon dressing was not associated with significant differences in burn-related complication.

Conclusions

The researchers demonstrate the antimicrobial efficacy of the silver-nylon dressing during global evacuation of burn casualties from combat zones to the burn centre. Compared with topical antimicrobials, the silver-nylon dressing is lightweight and easy to apply and requires minimal wound management which makes it desirable as a burn dressing for combat applications as well as mass casualty situations.

Reference

Aurora, A., Beasy, A., Rizzo, J.A. & Chung, K.K. (2018) The Use of a Silver-Nylon Dressing During Evacuation of Military Burn Casualties. Journal of Burn Care & Research. 39(4), pp.593-597. doi: 10.1093/jbcr/irx026.

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