Burns : journal of the International Society for Burn Injuries

Cerium nitrate in the management of burns.

PMID 15955636


The introduction of early excision of the burn eschar has contributed to a reduction in burn-related mortality but is not appropriate in all circumstances. Cerium nitrate has been used since 1976, usually in combination with silver sulphadiazine, to improve outcome where early excision is not performed. However, has still not gained universal acceptance. The evidence for its use is reviewed. A MEDLINE search was performed for the years 1966-2003 using keywords 'cerium', 'sulphadiazine', 'Flammacerium', 'lanthanides' and 'topical therapy for burns'. The reference lists of key articles were then sifted for other relevant articles. Cerium has been shown to reduce mortality and morbidity in the treatment of severe burns. This benefit is derived from its action on the burn eschar. It binds and denatures the lipid protein complex liberated from burnt skin that is responsible for the profound immunosuppression associated with major cutaneous burns. It has only limited antimicrobial properties. Cerium nitrate is an excellent topical treatment for most cutaneous burns not undergoing immediate excision and closure.