Podcast # 337: Airway Burn Inhalation - The Emergency Medical Minute

Author: John Winkler, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • Singed nasal hairs, soot around mouth, hoarse voice, drooling, and burns to head/face are signs suggestive of inhalation injury.
  • Early intubation is critical for these patients as the airway changes rapidly.
  • With inhalation injuries, the upper airway is burned while the lower airway is damaged by inhaled chemicals in the soot and can cause ARDS.
  • Carbon monoxide (CO) and cyanide (CN) poisoning can occur with inhalation injuries.
  • Treatment for CO poisoning is 100% oxygen and possible hyperbarics. Treatment for CN poisoning is cyanocobalamin.



Rehberg S, Maybauer MO, Enkhbaatar P, et al. Pathophysiology, management and treatment of smoke inhalation injury. Expert Rev Respir Med 2009; 3:283.

Woodson CL. Diagnosis and treatment of inhalation injury. In: Total Burn Care, 4 ed, Herndon DN (Ed), 2009.



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