Does pressure matter in creating burns in a porcine model?

Adam J. Singer, Breena R. Taira, Ryon Anderson, Steve A. McClain, Lior Rosenberg

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Multiple animal models of burn injury have been reported, and only some of these have been fully validated. One of the most popular approaches is burn infliction by direct contact with the heat source. Previous investigators have reported that the pressure of application of the contact burn infliction device does not affect the depth of injury. We hypothesized that the depth of injury would increase with increasing pressure of application in a porcine burn model. Forty mid-dermal contact burns measuring 25 × 25 mm were created on the back and flanks of an anesthetized domestic pig (50 kg) using a brass bar preheated in 80°C water for a period of 30 or 20 seconds. The bars were applied using a spring-loaded device designed to control the amount of pressure applied to the skin. The pressures applied by the brass bar were gravity (0.2 kg), 2.0, 2.7, 3.8, and 4.5 kg in replicates of eight. One hour later, 8-mm full-thickness biopsies were obtained for histologic analysis using Elastic Van Gieson staining by a board-certified dermatopathologist masked to burn conditions. The depth of complete and partial collagen injury was measured from the level of the basement membrane using a microscopic micrometer measuring lens. Groups were compared with analysis of variance (ANOVA). The association between depth of injury and pressure was determined with Pearson correlations. The mean (95% confidence interval) depths of complete collagen injury with 30-second exposures were as follows: gravity only, 0.51 (0.39-0.66) mm; 2.0 kg, 0.72 (0.55-0.88) mm; 2.7 kg, 0.68 (0.55-1.00) mm; 3.8 kg, 0.92 (0.80-1.00) mm; and 4.5 kg, 1.65 (1.55-1.75) mm. The differences in depth of injury between the various pressure groups were significant (ANOVA, P < .001). The mean (95% confidence interval) depths of partial collagen injury were as follows: gravity only, 1.10 (0.92-1.30) mm; 2.0 kg, 1.46 (1.28-1.63) mm; 2.7 kg, 1.51 (1.34-1.64) mm; 3.8 kg, 1.82 (1.71-1.94) mm; and 4.5 kg, 2.50 (2.39-2.62) mm; and ANOVA, P = .001. The associations between pressure of application and depth of complete and partial collagen injury were 0.73 (P < .001) and 0.65 (P < .001), respectively. There is a direct association between the pressure of burn device application and depth of injury. Future studies should standardize and specify the amount of pressure applied using the burn infliction device.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)646-651
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Burn Care and Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2010


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