Inhalational Injury

Classically, the diagnosis of inhalation injury was subjective and made on the basis of clinical findings. Pertinent information includes exposure to flame, smoke, or chemicals (industrial and household), duration of exposure, exposure in an enclosed space, and loss of consciousness or disability. Pertinent physical exam findings include facial burns, singed facial or nasal hair, soot or carbonaceous material on the face or in the sputum, and signs of airway obstruction including stridor, edema, or mucosal damage. Older patients, and those with more extensive burns, are at increased risk of inhalation injury because of prolonged exposure to the fire environment.