Study evaluates outcomes of drug meth among burn patients

Washington: A recent study has revealed that a drug called Methamphetamine (Meth) is not associated with worse health outcomes among burn patients. However, it was linked to worse conditions for those patients after their release from the hospital.

The study was published in the ‘Journal of Burn Care & Research’.
Meth-positive patients commonly sustain large total body surface area (TBSA) burn injuries. They are often a result of drug-related accidents or explosions during meth production, according to the study authors.

“At first, we expected that matched meth-positive patients would have worse outcomes than meth-negative patients,” said senior author Kathleen Romanowski.

“We were surprised to find that they did not have higher mortality or require more procedures, ventilation days, operating room visits or ICU days.”

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Using a database of burn-injured patients over four years, the researchers examined all the burn-injury cases.

“This is the largest study to date to investigate methamphetamine use in burn-injured patients, with 264 meth-positive adult cases,” Romanowski said.

Out of the 264 meth-positive cases, they matched 193 patients with meth-negative patients based on their age and the nature of their injuries.

The outcomes showed that meth-positive patients suffered worse injuries and stayed longer in hospital than meth-negative patients. Yet, more meth-positive patients left the hospital against medical advice. Fewer meth-positive patients had access to support such as skilled nursing facilities.

On average, meth-positive patients were more likely than meth-negative patients to be younger (42 vs. 46 years), male (81.5 per cent vs. 72.7 per cent) smokers (54 per cent vs. 29 per cent) and drug-dependent (81 per cent vs. 16 per cent). They also were less likely to have health issues such as congestive heart failure, high blood pressure requiring medication, obesity, diabetes and wheelchair dependency.

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