"Mapping" may lead to more successful burn treatment - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

"Mapping" may lead to more successful burn treatment

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(07/23/13) - There may soon be a better way to treat burn victims, thanks to new technology that has shown great success with wounded combat veterans.

Burn mapping is, according to doctors, making it possible to save more lives.

Mario Lopez paid a very high price serving his country, "I think I've had like 60 different surgeries."

His vehicle hit an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan, "I got burned over 54 percent of my body."

Until recently, military medical professionals used paper and colored pencils to keep track of troops' burns, says C.D. Peterson, "kinda takes us back to our elementary school days."

Peterson, a wound care coordinator at the Army Institute of Surgical Research, says pencil and paper used to be the standard, "it does leave room for error."

Now, he says, Wound-Flow is becoming the new standard, "it gives us a more accurate calculation."

With a laptop or tablet, caregivers color in the degree of the burn and how much of the body is burned. The percentage is automatically calculated. All the information is updated as patients progress.

Dr. Jose Salinas says Wound-Flow has helped find a pattern that shows if a patient is not healing at a certain rate after 21 days, "those patients will have an extremely high mortality rate."

Now, therapies can be adjusted if that pattern is spotted and hopefully, Peterson adds, "we save more patients that way."

Wound-flow is only used at the San Antonio Military Medical Center. There are plans to make similar mapping programs for gunshot and knife wounds.

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