Burns cause much human suffering. Burns are painful, blood-clotting-prone and tissue blood-flow-deficient cellular-destructive thermal injuries with high mortality. Half of the persons burned 25-30% of body surface size died. Burns heal slowly with residual scars and contractures. The delayed and deficient healing is due to insufficient restoration of blood, collagen, smooth muscle cells, and skin cells. Burn treatments were painful, difficult, long, poor in results, and costly – resembling torture. In many countries, including India, burns larger then 30% size were not treated because the Government could not sustain the high cost. Such patients were given morphine only and they died.
About 70 years ago, burn survival was increased a limited encouraging amount when the burns were surgically removed - completely cut-off at the earliest possible time, under anesthesia. Still half of the patients with 45-50% size burns died. Loss of blood in surgery usually necessitated blood replacement transfusions. The denuded areas had to be surgically covered with skin grafts. Additional surgical procedures were performed in the follow-up care. Surgery became the Primary and Dominant Treatment Method. Most physicians stopped treating burned patients. Surgeons often performed the medical and surgical care. The costs increased largely to unaffordable and unsustainable high levels. Although there were improvements, the surgical treatment was still akin to torture and the results were not optimal. Further improvements were needed. Medical therapies were researched. Heparin was one.
Heparin had recently been discovered. Small doses given inside human and animal bodies prevented the clotting of their blood. Because blood clotting was a major problem in burns, burn researchers performed 7 animal and 1 human burn studies, 1941 - 1960, giving similar small heparin doses within the bodies.1-7 Those studies produced small significant benefits. Then in non-burn studies larger than conventional anti-coagulating doses of heparin was found to have additional anti-histamine, anti-serotonin, and antiproteolytic enzyme effects.8-10
Starting in 1963, one researcher, MJ Saliba MD, administered larger than anti-coagulating doses inside the body and additionally topically on the burn surfaces and in the blisters. Heparin was given as the first burn treatment, pior to surgery. He administered the heparin in diminishing amounts from the treatment onset into the final healing. Heparin lowered mortality, increased survival. The heparin produced beneficial anti-coagulating effects and many more therapeutic effects. He widely presented and published his studies,11-13 studies performed with USA co-worker,14-17 and the studies performed later with associated researchers in other countries. All of the studies found the addition of heparin consistently produces multiple beneficial effects that precisely therapeutically match the complex multi-phase disease processes of burns, relieving the burn pain, suffering, scars, and much more.
Specifically in burns, heparin consistently relieves the pain, maintains blood circulation, prevents blood clotting, and is therapy for the embolus and infarction complications of blood clots. Heparin stops the cellular-destructive inflammation – relieving the pain, blanching the redness, limiting the swelling, and reducing the heat. Heparin maintains the cellular functions. In the healing processes, heparin restores blood flow by producing new small blood vessels in blood-deficient tissues. Heparin enhances and regulates replacement of collagen, smooth muscle cells, and dermal cells. Continuing to administer heparin topically results in new skin which is consistently smooth and usually void of scars and contractures. Heparin restores skin components to normal cosmetically pleasant condition. Burn healing time with heparin added is usually accelerated to one-third of previous time without heparin. Infections are less. And all of these treatment improvements are attained at costs that are one-half to one-tenth or less of previous costs – at costs that are affordable in all countries, especially in the economically underdeveloped ones. Using heparin, burn therapists are able to stop the loathed, tragic, ethically-unacceptable abominable practice of knowingly permitting persons with sizable burns to die without treatment, because the conventional treatment was unaffordable. Mercifully abolished is the prior practice of administering only morphine to facilitate death. All Governments could now afforded the cost of heparin burn treatment.
Burn treatment is vastly improved and simplified by adding heparin. Adding heparin prior to surgery reduces the surgical procedures, medical procedures, medicines, hospital time, healing time, blood loss, blood transfusions, scars, and contractures. Moreover, heparin treatment is compatible with other methods of treatment, including surgical.