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Trace element requirements in critically ill burned patients
Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology
21 Suppl 1
Critically ill burned patients are characterized by a strong oxidative stress, an intense inflammatory response, and months-long hypermetabolism, all of which are proportional to the severity of injury. Trace element (TE) deficiencies have repeatedly been described. The clinical course is complicated by organ failures, infections, and delayed wound healing, which can be partly attributed to TE deficiencies. Among critically ill patients, TE deficiencies are the most severe in major burns, who suffer a specific copper deficiency. Plasma TE concentrations are low during any critical illness, as a result of TE losses in biological fluids, low intakes, dilution by fluid resuscitation, and redistribution from plasma to tissues mediated by the inflammatory response. The large exudative losses cause negative TE balances. Intravenous supplementation trials show that early substitution improves recovery, reduces infectious complications (particularly nosocomial pneumonia), normalize thyroid function, normalize skin tissue levels, improve wound healing and shorten hospital stay. Nevertheless, prolonged high dose delivery may be deleterious, as TE have potential for toxicity. In major burns, supplements up to 4mg of Cu/day, 500mg Se/day and 40mg Zn/day for 3 weeks have been found to be safe and effective. The intravenous route appears the only way to deliver the doses required to achieve antioxidant and clinical effects. Further research is required to determine the optimal combination and doses for different severities of injury.
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