Thermal Injury-Related Response
The thermal injury-related response is a complex process that begins immediately after a burn injury. The body’s response to a burn injury can be divided into three phases:
- Ebb phase: The ebb phase occurs in the first 24-48 hours after a burn injury. During this phase, there is a shift of fluid from the intravascular space (blood vessels) to the interstitial space (tissue spaces). This fluid shift is caused by a number of factors, including vasodilation (widening of the blood vessels) and increased capillary permeability (leaky blood vessels). The fluid shift can lead to hypovolemia (low blood volume) and hypotension (low blood pressure).
- Flow phase: The flow phase begins 24-48 hours after a burn injury and lasts for several days. During this phase, fluid begins to return to the intravascular space. However, the fluid shift is often not balanced, and the client may remain hypovolemic and hypotensive.
- Anabolic phase: The anabolic phase begins several days after a burn injury and lasts for several weeks. During this phase, the body begins to repair the damage caused by the burn injury. The anabolic phase is characterized by increased protein synthesis and fluid retention.
Hypotension and Tachycardia in Burn Patients
Hypotension and tachycardia are common findings in burn patients, especially in the ebb phase. Hypotension is caused by hypovolemia, which is caused by fluid shift and blood loss. Tachycardia is the body’s attempt to compensate for hypotension by increasing the heart rate and cardiac output.
Nurses play a vital role in managing hypotension and tachycardia in burn patients. Nursing interventions include:
- Fluid resuscitation: Fluid resuscitation is essential for restoring blood volume and improving hemodynamics. Fluids are typically administered intravenously (IV).
- Monitoring vital signs: Nurses should monitor the client’s vital signs closely, especially blood pressure and heart rate.
- Administering medications: Medications such as vasopressors may be used to increase blood pressure.
- Providing emotional support: Burn injury can be a stressful experience for the client and their family. Nurses can provide emotional support and reassurance to the client and their family.
Hypotension and tachycardia are common findings in burn patients, especially in the ebb phase. These findings are an expected result of the thermal injury-related response. Nurses play a vital role in managing hypotension and tachycardia in burn patients by providing fluid resuscitation, monitoring vital signs, administering medications, and providing emotional support.
It is important to note that the severity of hypotension and tachycardia in burn patients will vary depending on the severity of the burn injury and the client’s underlying medical conditions. Nurses should work with the healthcare team to develop a personalized treatment plan for each burn patient.