Conventional therapy for burns has always produced a nightmarish illness for patients. The lack of the ability to prevent contractures often produces dysfunctional limbs and the ugly scars resulting from severe burns are an ongoing reminder of this lengthy painful illness. This study is to determine the effectiveness of topical heparin in burns management among some patients at the Burns Intensive Care Unit (BICU) of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), Kumasi, Ghana. Patients for this prospective study were burns victims who were transported to the Accident and Emergency Center of KATH. Complete clerking of the patients and related information were taken. Six patients with ages ranging from 5-35 years, TBSA 5-42% and a combination of 2° and 3° burns were enrolled in the case study. Anatomical locations of the burns included: face, neck, trunk and limbs. Using topical heparin produced smooth skin in two patients: Patients 3 and 5 who reported on Post-burn Day 85 and 116 at the BICU. Five out of the six patients assessed the degree of pain; before treatment with heparin, all five patients stated they were experiencing severe pains, however, three (60.0%) of the patients stated they experienced no pain at all while two (40.0%) were experiencing mild pain after topical heparin application. Heparin was observed to be very effective in the management of burn injuries in the patients studied. It was effective in reduction of pain and prevention of scars and contractures. However, due to the small number of patients and lack of control for the wound healing, a firm recommendation for the use of heparin therapy in burns cannot be made and further studies would be required to establish its use especially in the African population.
Keywords: Burns, topical heparin, pain, hospital stay, cost-effective