BACKGROUND: Early accurate assessment of burn depth is important to determine the optimal treatment of burns. The method most used to determine burn depth is clinical assessment, which is the least expensive, but not the most accurate.Laser Doppler imaging (LDI) is a technique with which a more accurate (>95%) estimate of burn depth can be made by measuring the dermal perfusion. The actual effect on therapeutic decisions, clinical outcomes and the costs of the introduction of this device, however, are unknown. Before we decide to implement LDI in Dutch burn care, a study on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of LDI is necessary.
METHODS/DESIGN: A multicenter randomised controlled trial will be conducted in the Dutch burn centres: Beverwijk, Groningen and Rotterdam. All patients treated as outpatient or admitted to a burn centre within 5 days post burn, with burns of indeterminate depth (burns not obviously superficial or full thickness) and a total body surface area burned of ≤ 20% are eligible. A total of 200 patients will be included. Burn depth will be diagnosed by both clinical assessment and laser Doppler imaging between 2-5 days post burn in all patients. Subsequently, patients are randomly divided in two groups: 'new diagnostic strategy' versus 'current diagnostic strategy'. The results of the LDI-scan will only be provided to the treating clinician in the 'new diagnostic strategy' group. The main endpoint is the effect of LDI on wound healing time.In addition we measure: a) the effect of LDI on other patient outcomes (quality of life, scar quality), b) the effect of LDI on diagnostic and therapeutic decisions, and c) the effect of LDI on total (medical and non-medical) costs and cost-effectiveness.
DISCUSSION: This trial will contribute to our current knowledge on the use of LDI in burn care and will provide evidence on its cost-effectiveness.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT01489540.
- burn units/economics
- burns/diagnostic imaging
- cost-benefit analysis/economics
- length of stay/economics
- quality of life
- time factors
- ultrasonography, doppler/economics