Toxic epidermal necrolysis

Joseph T. Murphy, Gary F. Purdue, John L. Hunt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) is a poorly understood and devastating condition. It is usually diagnosed in a primary care setting. Treatment of severe cases by burn care personnel is usually by referral. In this review, we report excessive mortality rates associated widi prolonged use of systemic steroid therapy and delayed referral (more than 1 week from diagnosis). Forty-four consecutive patients admitted to a regional burn center with die diagnosis of TEN over a 14-year period, (0.7% of all admissions) were included. Precipitating factors were identified in 30 cases. Twenty-one patients had known prehospital allergy conditions direcdy related to the incidng agent. The mean age of this population was 44.9 years, and the mean total body surface area (TBSA) injury was 52.4%. Eighty-four and one-half percent of all patients with TEN were admitted to the ICU. Twenty-four patients required ventilator support. Overall mortality rate was 36%. Nonsurviving patients had a mean age of 61.6 years, compared to 35.3 years for survivors. Nonsurvivors had a mean TBSA of 64.4%, survivors had a mean TBSA of 44%. TEN, aldiough a nonthermal injury, is best managed by personnel experienced in the care of severe thermal injuries. Despite die availability of this expertise, delayed transfer of severe presentations continues to contribute to exceptionally high morbidity and mortality rates. (J Burn Care Rehabil 1997;18:417-20).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)417-420
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Burn Care and Rehabilitation
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Nursing(all)
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Rehabilitation
  • Health Professions(all)


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