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Operational Advantages of Enteral Resuscitation Following Burn Injury in Resource-Poor Environments: Palatability of Commercially Available Solutions

Fall 2019

Burmeister DM, Little JS, Gomez BI, Gurney J, Chao T, Cancio LC, Kramer GC, Dubick MA. 19(3). 76 - 81. (Journal Article)


Background: In recent combat operations, 5% to 15% of casualties sustained thermal injuries, which require resource-intensive therapies. During prolonged field care or when caring for patients in a multidomain battlefield, delayed transport will complicate the challenges that already exist in the burn population. A lack of resources and/or vascular access in the future operating environment may benefit from alternative resuscitation strategies. The objectives of the current report are 1) to briefly review actual and potential advantages/caveats of resuscitation with enteral fluids and 2) to present new data on palatability of oral rehydration solutions. Methods: A review of the literature and published guidelines are reported. In addition, enlisted US military active duty Servicemembers (N = 40) were asked to taste/rank five different oral rehydration solutions on several parameters. Results and Conclusions: There are several operational advantages of using enteral fluids including ease of administration, no specialized equipment needed, and the use of lightweight sachets that are easily reconstituted/ administered. Limited clinical data along with slightly more extensive preclinical studies have prompted published guidelines for austere conditions to indicate consideration of enteral resuscitation for burns. Gatorade® and Drip-Drop® were the overall preferred rehydration solutions based on palatability, with the latter potentially more appropriate for resuscitation. Taken together, enteral resuscitation may confer several advantages over intravenous fluids for burn resuscitation under resource-poor scenarios. Future research needs to identify what solutions and volumes are optimal for use in thermally injured casualties.

Keywords: burns; prolonged field care; resuscitation; enteral fluids; rehydration solutions

PMID: 31539437

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