Changes in Zinc metabolism after burns : observations, explanations, clinical implications

K.E.C. Haan, de, J.J.M. de Goeij, C.J.A. Hamer, van den, H. Boxma, C.J. Groot, de

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Zinc in plasma and urine and serum albumin and alpha 2-macroglobulin were measured in 48 patients with burns. Mean total burned surface area amounted to 18%, ranging from 2 to 55%, and mean hospitalization time amounted to 35 days, ranging from 10 to 124 days. All parameters showed a decrease during the first two post-burn days. Minimal values were reached on days 2 and 3 for plasma and urine zinc, and between days 5 and 10 for the proteins. Thereafter, values increased, rapidly for both plasma and urinary zinc, more slowly for albumin and alpha 2-macroglobulin. The ratio R of the total plasma zinc minus the alpha 2-macroglobulin concentration to the albumin concentration is postulated as an indicator for zinc deficiency. From values of R and of the urinary zinc excretion, conclusions can be drawn about various processes of the zinc metabolism that may occur during the acute stage following the thermal accident and during the stages of tissue demarcation and of recovery. These processes are discussed in terms of possible temporary and/or local zinc deficiency. Evidence is presented that zinc administration in only indicated during the final stages of recovery in case of inadequate dietary intake.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-201
JournalJournal of Trace Elements and Electrolytes in Health and Disease
Publication statusPublished - 1992


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