The initial treatment of severely burned patients remains a huge challenge for first responders in emergency services as well as emergency doctors who do not work in a centre for severe burn injuries. The reason for this is the low number of cases in developed countries and a lack of training concepts for the specific aspects of the initial treatment of severe burn injuries. Because of guidelines with limited evidence (S1, S2k) and a lack of structured treatment approaches, uncertainties with respect to initial treatment are still visible. Even within the professional societies and on international comparison, controversial aspects remain. In contrast, optimised and standardised procedures are available for the treatment of severely injured (trauma) patients, based on PHTLS® (Pre Hospital Trauma Life Support) for preclinical and ATLS® (Advanced Trauma Life Support) for in-hospital first aid. This article takes stock of the current structure of care and the relevant evidence for the initial treatment of severe burns. Also it discusses a possible transfer and further development of concepts for primary trauma care by all disciplines involved. Nine essential steps in the primary care of burned patients are identified and evaluated. The need for the introduction of a uniform treatment algorithm is illustrated. The treatment algorithm presented in this article addresses all first responders who are faced with initial treatment in the first 24 hours outside of burn centres. As an essential, new aspect, it offers a transfer and adaptation of concepts from trauma care to standardise the care of severely burned patients.
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