Cooling the burn wound: evaluation of different modalites.


Jandera V, Hudson DA, de Wet PM






A study was undertaken to investigate the cooling and healing effect of different modalities: Melaleuca Alternifolia Hydrogel (Levtrade International (Pty) Ltd.) was compared with tap water as a coolant following application onto a fresh deep partial thickness hot water burn in a porcine model. Four identical circular scalds were created on the backs of 10 pigs. One wound was not treated and served as a control. The other 3 wounds were either cooled with tap water (15 degrees C) or had Melaleuca Hydrogel dressing applied immediately, or after a 30 min delay. Intradermal temperatures were monitored in all wounds: preburn, during the burn and at regular intervals for 1 h. The wounds were biopsied for histological assessment. These samples were repeated at 24 h and 3 weeks. The mean decrease in final temperature at 1 h was in comparison to the preburn temperature; control +0.44 degrees C (i.e. a temperature increase); water -7.82 degrees C; Melaleuca Hydrogel -3.87 degrees C; Melaleuca Hydrogel after 30 min delay -2.67 degrees C. Clinical and histological assessment at 21 days indicated more rapid healing in both the Melaleuca Hydrogel and water-cooled burns compared with the untreated controls. Effective cooling of the burn wound and an increased rate of wound healing was achieved by both repeated tap water compresses and by immediate or delayed application of Melaleuca Hydrogel. Cooling is an effective means to reduce tissue damage and increase wound healing.