FOR 40 YEARS, the US Army's Institute of Surgical Research, Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Tex, has played a central role in the development and improvement of therapy for the patient with burns. The institute's director, COL Basil A. Pruitt, MC, USA, says that when the staff encounters a significant problem, it can be brought from the clinic to the laboratory, where possible solutions can be explored.
"This relationship has been responsible for some of the significant improvements in burn care over the years," he says. "In turn, this has been reflected in improved survival."
Pruitt cites development of topical chemotherapy: "Investigation of this has made possible the excision procedures that are now widely employed in burn patients, allowing earlier wound closure. This reduces the duration and magnitude of physiologic stress, reduces the period during which the patient is at risk of infection, and gives improved functional and cosmetic results."