The use of tannins in the local treatment of burn wounds- a pilot study
Twenty patients aged 3 years and above with fresh partial thickness burns of less than 20% total body surface area were randomly assigned to local treatment of the burn wound either with a solution containing tannins (tannin group), or one of the other commonly used topical agents, such as honey and ghee, silver sulfadiazine, etc (the other group). The effects on serum transaminase and alkaline phosphatase, the incidence and type of wound infection, the quality of the eschar, the formation of scar tissue, adverse effects, the alleviation of pain and possible adverse reactions were studied in both treatment groups. Surprisingly initial assessment of the burn wound depth proved more difficult than anticipated even in the hands of the more experienced health worker. Liver function tests were elevated in both the tannin (6 patients) and the other group (7 patients). Bacterial colonization of the wounds was equally distributed in both groups, although Staphylococcus aureus was found more often in the other group (9 versus 1). The quality of the eschar was better in the tannin group (6 patients had a supple eschar versus 3 in the other group). The most important observations were that no adverse reactions were encountered and that in the tannin group only one patient developed a hypertrophic scar compared to 5 patients in the other group. It proved difficult to quantify alleviation of pain especially in the children.