Ronald Tompkins

Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

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Publications (46)161.48 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Introduction: The impact of burn size on mortality is well known, but empiric measurement of the association of burn size with long-term functional outcomes remains poorly studied. Methods: This five year (2003-8) prospective multi-center study included burned adults ages 19-30 years who completed the Young Adult Burn Outcome Questionnaire (YABOQ) at initial contact, 10 days, and at 6, 12, 24, and 36 months after initial questionnaire administration. Non-burned subjects of comparable ages also completed the questionnaire as a reference group. The association between functional recovery and total body surface area (TBSA) burned was analyzed longitudinally using generalized linear models with the generalized estimation equation (GEE) technique. Functional status was characterized in 15 domains: physical function, fine motor function, pain, itch, social function limited by physical function, perceived appearance, social function limited by appearance, sexual function, emotion, family function, family concern, satisfaction with symptom relief, satisfaction with role, work reintegration, and religion. Domain scores were standardized to a mean of 50 and a standard deviation of 10 based on non-burned controls. Results: There were 153 burned and 112 nonburned subjects with a total of 620 questionnaires. TBSA burned was 11+14% (Mean+SD); 31% had face involvement and 57% had hand involvement. The lag from burn injury to questionnaire administration was on average 7+7.7months, with a maximum of 36 months. Lower recovery levels were associated with increasing burn size for physical function, pain, itch, work reintegration, emotion, satisfaction with symptom relief, satisfaction with role, family function, and family concern (p-value ranged from 0.04 to <0.0001). Conclusions: Decrements in the outcomes of long term functional recovery levels in young adult burn survivors were associated with increasing burn size. Applicability of Research to Practice: Expectations for multidimensional recovery from burns in young adults can be benchmarked based on burn size. External Funding: This work is partially funded by the National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research.
    Journal of burn care & research: official publication of the American Burn Association 01/2014; 35:S196. · 1.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives: We Previously identified brain regions with decreased immediate early gene (IEG) expression in isolation reared (IR) rats ( Levine et al., 2008). In the current study, effects of burn injury on brain FDG uptake were evaluated in Group reared (GR) and Isolation reared (IR) rats. If FDG PET findings correlate with the genetic changes, they could serve as a biomarker in translational studies aimed at linking findings in isolation reared animals to clinical studies of patients presenting with symptoms due to early psychosocial deprivation. Methods: A total of 12 male rats were obtained on post natal day (PN) 17 with lactating dams and were housed as in our prior studies (Levine et al., 2008). On PN 21, 1/2 of the animals were subjected to 20% dorsal burn in 90 degree water for 8 sec or sham treatment. The IR rats were then housed individually and the GR rats were housed in groups (Levine et al., 2007). On PN 49 the rats were fasted for 24 h, anaesthetized with isoflurane/N2O2, positioned in to a custom fabricated head holder, injected with FDG (1.0 mCi via tail vein) and brain images of 5 min. duration were acquired with a Siemens focus 220 (PET/CT. Images were reconstructed using the OSEM 3D/MAP algorithm with zoom 6 (256 x 256 matrix) and ROIs (SUV) were constructed for whole brain and multiple regions. Results: The FDG PET results are summarized in the Table. For whole brain, FDG uptake in sham rats was neatly identical for IR and GR animals (p=NS). In contrast, whole brain FDG PET SUV was reduced by ~53% and IR ~ 68% for GR (p<0.001) and IR (p<0.001) animals at 28 days after burn injury . Similar reduction in FDG PET SUV were observed for thalamus, cerebellum, frontal cortex, parietal cortex and putamen. Conclusions: The finding of FDG SUV differences, suggest the possibility that metabolic changes that can be measured in vivo using PET can be used as a biomarker of molecular changes that have previously only been accessible by ex-vivo measurements.
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    ABSTRACT: Skeletal muscle wasting is an exacerbating factor in the prognosis of critically ill patients. Using a systemic burn injury model in mice, we have established a role of autophagy in the resulting muscle wasting distant from the burn trauma. We provide evidence that burn injury increases the autophagy turnover in the distal skeletal muscle by conventional post-mortem tissue analyses and by a novel in vivo microscopic method using an autophagy reporter gene (tandem fluorescent LC3). The effect of tadalafil, a phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitor (PDE5I), on burn-induced skeletal muscle autophagy is documented and extends our published results that PDE5Is attenuates muscle degeneration in a muscular dystrophy model. We also designed a translational experiment to examine the impact of PDE5I on whole body and demonstrated the improvement of muscle atrophy, microcirculatory disturbance, and the survival rate after burn injury.
    AJP Endocrinology and Metabolism 03/2013; 304(9). DOI:10.1152/ajpendo.00078.2013 · 4.09 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Increasing evidence indicates that bacterial quorum sensing (QS) signals are important mediators of immunomodulation. However, whether microbes utilize these immunomodulatory signals to maintain infection remain unclear. Here, we show that the Pseudomonas aeruginosa QS-regulated molecule 2-amino acetophenone (2-AA) modulates host immune responses in a manner that increases host ability to cope with this pathogen. Mice treated with 2-AA prior to infection had a 90% survival compared to 10% survival rate observed in the non-pretreated infected mice. Whilst 2-AA stimulation activates key innate immune response pathways involving mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), nuclear factor (NF)-κB, and pro-inflammatory cytokines, it attenuates immune response activation upon pretreatment, most likely by upregulating anti-inflammatory cytokines. 2-AA host pretreatment is characterized by a transcriptionally regulated block of c-JUN N-terminal kinase (JNK) and NF-κB activation, with relatively preserved activation of extracellular regulated kinase (ERK) 1/2. These kinase changes lead to CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein-β (c/EBPβ) activation and formation of the c/EBPβ-p65 complex that prevents NF-κB activation. 2-AA's aptitude for dampening the inflammatory processes while increasing host survival and pathogen persistence concurs with its ability to signal bacteria to switch to a chronic infection mode. Our results reveal a QS immunomodulatory signal that promotes original aspects of interkingdom communication. We propose that this communication facilitates pathogen persistence, while enabling host tolerance to infection.
    PLoS Pathogens 11/2012; 8(11):e1003024. DOI:10.1371/journal.ppat.1003024 · 8.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: There have been few studies on costs of burn treatment. Furthermore, quantifying the actual cost of care at the patient level is hindered by anomalies of our insurance system. This article presents a practical method for determining the cost of caring for pediatric burn patients, using a cohort of patients from the Multi-Center Benchmarking Study at the Shriners Hospitals for Children-Boston and allows an estimate of resource use that may be linked to need or to best practices, without the confounding variable of inconsistent billing practices. We estimated the cost of hospitalization for a cohort of 230 pediatric patients who sustained burn injuries. In a simulation of billing patterns of all US hospitals between 2001 and 2009, we applied Shriners Hospitals for Children use data to two external sources of cost information. For the hospital component of costs, we used the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Kid's Inpatient Database, and for the physician component of costs, we used the Medicare fee schedule. Patients had a mean of 1.9 hospitalizations over 3 to 4 years. The mean total cost of hospitalization was $83,535 per patient, and the median total cost was $16,331 in 2006 dollars. This is the first effort to estimate the early hospital costs of caring for children and young adults with burns in specialty hospitals and to establish a referent for quantifying the cost of caring for patients with acute burns. It lays the groundwork for studies relating costs of specific interventions to their effects on patient-centered outcomes.
    09/2012; 73(3 Suppl 2):S229-33. DOI:10.1097/TA.0b013e318265c88a
  • Ronald G Tompkins
    The Lancet 01/2012; 379(9820):983-4. DOI:10.1016/S0140-6736(11)61626-7 · 39.21 Impact Factor
  • Journal of burn care & research: official publication of the American Burn Association 01/2012; 33:S128. · 1.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Despite ongoing improvements in resuscitation, care, and outcomes, traumatic injury remains a significant health care and economic burden. The causes are multifactorial, but our approach to the clinical management of these patients remains limited by our current understanding of the pathobiology of the disease. A multicenter, multidisciplinary program known as the “Inflammation and the Host Response to Injury” Large Scale Collaborative Research Program was created by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS, U54 GM062119-10) in 2001 in a 10-year effort to address some of these issues. Its primary goal is to describe the human genomic response to severe trauma and burns, and to examine changes in gene expression in the context of different clinical outcomes. The Program has not only successfully implemented clinical care guidelines for managing the severe trauma patient based on the best available evidence to minimize iatrogenic variability, but it has also examined the genome-wide, immune-inflammatory response in total and isolated blood leukocyte populations. This review will address current milestones as well as future directions for the Program.
    European Journal of Trauma and Emergency Surgery 12/2011; 37(6). DOI:10.1007/s00068-011-0148-8 · 0.38 Impact Factor
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    Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 11/2011; 415(1):212. DOI:10.1016/j.bbrc.2011.10.067 · 2.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Excessive proinflammatory activation after trauma plays a role in late morbidity and mortality, including the development of multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS). To date, identification of patients at risk has been challenging. Results from animal and human studies suggest that circulating interleukin 6 (IL-6) may serve as a biomarker for excessive inflammation. The purpose of this analysis was to determine the association of IL-6 with outcome in a multicenter developmental cohort and in a single-center validation cohort. Severely injured patients with shock caused by hemorrhage were evaluated within a multicenter developmental cohort (n = 79). All had blood drawn within 12 h of injury. Plasma IL-6 was determined by multiplex proteomic analysis. Clinical and outcome data were prospectively obtained. Within this developmental cohort, a plasma IL-6 level was determined for the subsequent development of MODS by developing a receiver operating curve and defining the optimal IL-6 level using the Youden Index. This IL-6 level was then evaluated within a separate validation cohort (n = 56). A receiver operating curve was generated for IL-6 and MODS development, with an IL-6 level of 350 pg/mL having the highest sensitivity and specificity within the developmental cohort. IL-6 was associated with MODS after adjusting for Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation, Injury Severity Score, male sex, and blood transfusions with an odds ratio of 3.9 (95% confidence interval, 1.33 - 11.19). An IL-6 level greater than 350 pg/mL within the validation cohort was associated with an increase in MODS score, MODS development, ventilator days, intensive care unit length of stay, and hospital length of stay. However, this IL-6 level was not associated with either the development of nosocomial infection or mortality. Elevation in plasma IL-6 seems to correlate with a poor prognosis. This measurement may be useful as a biomarker for prognosis and serve to identify patients at higher risk of adverse outcome that would benefit from novel therapeutic interventions.
    Shock (Augusta, Ga.) 10/2010; 34(4):346-51. DOI:10.1097/SHK.0b013e3181d8e687 · 2.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Time-course microarray experiments are capable of capturing dynamic gene expression profiles. It is important to study how these dynamic profiles depend on the multiple factors that characterize the experimental condition under which the time course is observed. Analytic methods are needed to simultaneously handle the time course and factorial structure in the data. We developed a method to evaluate factor effects by pooling information across the time course while accounting for multiple testing and nonnormality of the microarray data. The method effectively extracts gene-specific response features and models their dependency on the experimental factors. Both longitudinal and cross-sectional time-course data can be handled by our approach. The method was used to analyze the impact of age on the temporal gene response to burn injury in a large-scale clinical study. Our analysis reveals that 21% of the genes responsive to burn are age-specific, among which expressions of mitochondria and immunoglobulin genes are differentially perturbed in pediatric and adult patients by burn injury. These new findings in the body's response to burn injury between children and adults support further investigations of therapeutic options targeting specific age groups. The methodology proposed here has been implemented in R package "TANOVA" and submitted to the Comprehensive R Archive Network at It is also available for download at
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 06/2010; 107(22):9923-8. DOI:10.1073/pnas.1002757107 · 9.81 Impact Factor
  • Journal of Surgical Research 02/2010; 158(2):352. DOI:10.1016/j.jss.2009.11.495 · 2.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Endotoxemia plays an important role in the pathogenesis of sepsis and is accompanied by dysregulated apoptosis of immune and non-immune cells. Treatment with statins reduces mortality in rodent models of sepsis and endotoxemia. Inhibition of protein isoprenylation, including farnesylation, has been proposed as a mechanism to mediate the lipid-lowering-independent effects of statins. Nonetheless, the effects of the inhibition of isoprenylation have not yet been studied. To investigate the role of farnesylation, we evaluated the effects of farnesyltransferase inhibitor and statin on survival following lipopolysaccharide (LPS) challenge in mice. Both simvastatin (2mg/kg BW) and FTI-277 (20mg/kg BW) treatment improved survival by twofold after LPS injection, as compared with vehicle alone (p<0.01). LPS-induced cleavage (activation) of caspase-3, an indicator of apoptotic change, and increased protein expression of proapoptotic molecules, Bax and Bim, and activation of c-Jun NH(2)-terminal kinase (JNK/SAPK) in the liver and spleen were attenuated by both simvastatin and FTI-277. These results demonstrate that farnesyltransferase inhibitor as well as statin significantly reduced LPS-induced mortality in mice. Our findings also suggest that inhibition of protein farnesylation may contribute to the lipid-lowering-independent protective effects of statins in endotoxemia, and that protein farnesylation may play a role in LPS-induced stress response, including JNK/SAPK activation, and apoptotic change. Our data argue that farnesyltransferase may be a potential molecular target for treating patients with endotoxemia.
    Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 01/2010; 391(3):1459-64. DOI:10.1016/j.bbrc.2009.12.094 · 2.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We hypothesized that circulating leukocyte RNA profiles or “riboleukograms” detect ventilator-associated pneumonia after blunt trauma. A pilot microarray study of 11 ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) patients suggested that 85 leukocyte genes can be used to diagnose VAP. Validation of this gene set to detect VAP was tested using data from an independent patient cohort. A total of 158 intubated blunt trauma patients were enrolled at 5 centers, where 57 (36%) developed VAP. Patient age was 34.2 ± 11.1 years; 65% were male. Circulating leukocyte GeneChip U133 2.0 expression values were measured at time 0.5, 1, 4, 7, 14, 21, and 28 days after injury. DChip normalized leukocyte transcriptional profiles were analyzed using repeated measures logistic regression. A compound covariate model based on leukocyte gene transcriptional profiles in a training subset of patients was tested to determine predictive accuracy for VAP 4 days prior to clinical diagnosis in the test subset. Using gene expression values measured on each study day at an FDR <0.05, 27 (32%) of the 85 genes were associated with the diagnosis of VAP 1 to 4 days before diagnosis. However, the compound covariate model based on these 85-genes did not predict VAP in the test cohort better than chance (P = 0.27). In contrast, a compound covariate model based upon de novo transcriptional analysis of the 158 patients predicted VAP better than chance 4 days before diagnosis with a sensitivity of 57% and a specificity of 69%. Our results validate those described in a pilot study, confirming that riboleukograms are associated with the development of VAP days prior to clinical diagnosis. Similarly, a riboleukogram predictive model tested on a larger cohort of 158 patients was better than chance at predicting VAP days prior to clinical diagnosis.
    Annals of surgery 08/2009; 250(4):531-9. DOI:10.1097/SLA.0b013e3181b8fbd5 · 7.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study tested the hypothesis that very young children who received more morphine for acute burns would have larger decreases in posttraumatic symptoms 3 to 6 months later. This has never before been studied in very young children, despite the high frequency of burns and trauma in this age group. Seventy 12- to 48-month-old nonvented children with acute burns admitted to a major pediatric burn center and their parents participated. Parents were interviewed at three time points: during their child's hospitalization, 1 month, and 3 to 6 months after discharge. Measures included the Child Stress Disorders Checklist - Burn Version (CSDC-B). Chart reviews were conducted to obtain children's morphine dosages during hospitalization. Mean equivalency dosages of morphine (mg/kg/d) were calculated to combine oral and intravenous administrations. Eleven participants had complete 3 to 6-month data on the CSDC. The correlation between average morphine dose and amount of decrease in posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms on the CSDC (r = -0.32) was similar to that found in studies with older children. The correlation between morphine dose and amount of decrease in symptoms on the arousal cluster of the CSDC was significant (r = -0.63, P < .05). Findings from the current study suggest that, for young children, management of pain with higher doses of morphine may be associated with a decreasing number of posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms, especially those of arousal, in the months after major trauma. This extends, with very young children, the previous findings with 6- to 16-year olds.
    Journal of burn care & research: official publication of the American Burn Association 08/2009; 30(5):836-43. DOI:10.1097/BCR.0b013e3181b48102 · 1.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Inhalation injury remains a significant source of morbidity and mortality in children with burn injury. The purpose of this study is to analyze the incidence, demographic characteristics, and outcomes for children who have sustained burn injury at one of four regional pediatric burn centers. A retrospective review of children aged 0 to 18 years admitted to one of four pediatric burn centers from 1997 to 2007 with a diagnosis of inhalation injury was performed. Factors analyzed included demographics, injury severity, treatment duration, and outcomes. A total of 850 patients with a mean age of 7.9 +/- 0.2 years and a mean total body surface area burn of 48.6 +/- 0.9% were admitted with a diagnosis of inhalation injury. Mean interval between injury and hospital admission was 4.2 +/- 0.3 days. Inhalation injury was diagnosed by bronchoscopy in 71%, via elevated carboxyhemoglobin in 4%, and by clinical signs/history alone in 25%. Hospital length of stay averaged 44.8 +/- 1.7 days, and patients required mechanical ventilation for a mean of 15.2 +/- 0.8 days. Mortality was 16.4%. Inhalation injury in children is associated with significant morbidity and mortality, and diagnosis of inhalation injury does not follow consistent guidelines. Further studies are required to standardize diagnostic criteria for inhalation injury and to optimize the treatment of children with inhalation injury.
    Journal of burn care & research: official publication of the American Burn Association 01/2009; 30(1):206-8. DOI:10.1097/BCR.0b013e3181923ea4 · 1.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: An increasing number of bacteria are resistant to multiple systemic antibiotics. The purpose of this study was to determine if topical antimicrobials are still effective against multi-drug resistant organisms (MDROs). MDROs, including Acinetobacter, Pseudomonas, Klebsiella, Staphylococcus, and Enterococcus, were collected from four burn hospitals. The sensitivity of 47 MDROs to 11 commonly used topical agents (mafenide acetate, nystatin, mafenide + nystatin, silver nitrate, Dakin's, polymyxin B, neomycin, polymyxin + neomycin, silver sulfadiazine, bacitracin, silver sulfadiazine + bacitracin) was tested using the agar well diffusion assay and compared with the sensitivity of 27 non-MDROs of similar genera. Overall 88% of the tests of the non-MDROs showed susceptibility to the topicals compared with 80% for the MDROs (P < .05). Specific findings included: all of the gram-positive non-MDROs were sensitive to bacitracin compared with only 67% of the MDROs (P < .05); 74% of the non-MDROs were sensitive to neomycin vs 26% of the MDROs (P < .01). Even for the susceptible isolates, the zones of inhibition were smaller for the MDROs than for the non-MDROs (P < .002), indicating decreased susceptibility of the MDROs. Specifically, while the MDRO Acinetobacter were sensitive to most of the topicals, the zones of inhibition for silvadene, silvadene + bacitracin, neomycin, and neomycin + polymyxin were significantly smaller (P < .001) for the Acinetobacter MDROs than the non-MDROs. Although many topicals are still effective against some MDROs, MDROs are more resistant to topicals than are non-MDROs. Some treatment assumptions based historically on the efficacy of topical antimicrobial agents against non-MDROs need to be re-evaluated for MDROs.
    Journal of burn care & research: official publication of the American Burn Association 01/2009; 30(1):19-29. DOI:10.1097/BCR.0b013e3181921eed · 1.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pharmacologic modulation of hypermetabolism clearly benefits children with major burns, however, its role in adult burns remains to be defined. Oxandrolone appears to be a promising anabolic agent although few outcome data are as yet available. We examined whether early oxandrolone treatment in severely burned adults was associated with improved outcomes during acute hospitalization. We evaluated for potential associations between oxandrolone treatment and outcomes in a large cohort of severely burned adults in the context of a multicenter observational study. Patients were dichotomized with respect to oxandrolone treatment, defined as administration within 7 days after admission, with duration of at least 7 days. Acute hospitalization outcomes were compared with univariate and multivariate analyses. One hundred seventeen patients were included in this analysis. Mean patient age was 42.6 years (range, 18-86); 77% were male, with an average TBSA of 44.1%. Baseline and injury characteristics were similar among treatment and nontreatment cohorts. Oxandrolone treatment (N = 59) did not impact length of stay but was associated with a lower mortality rate (P = .01) by univariate analysis. Oxandrolone treatment was independently associated with higher survival by adjusted analyses (P = .02). Examination of early oxandrolone treatment in this cohort of severely burned adults suggests that this therapy is safe and may be associated with improved survival. Further studies are necessary to define the exact mechanisms by which oxandrolone is beneficial during inpatient treatment.
    Journal of burn care & research: official publication of the American Burn Association 11/2008; 29(6):902-6. DOI:10.1097/BCR.0b013e31818ba14d · 1.55 Impact Factor
  • Journal of burn care & research: official publication of the American Burn Association 01/2006; 27. DOI:10.1097/01253092-200603001-00058 · 1.55 Impact Factor
  • Journal of Burn Care & Rehabilitation 01/2003; 24:S101. DOI:10.1097/00004630-200303002-00117 · 2.42 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

620 Citations
161.48 Total Impact Points


  • 1999–2013
    • Harvard University
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2009–2012
    • Massachusetts General Hospital
      • Department of Surgery
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • 1998–2011
    • Shriners Hospitals for Children
      Tampa, Florida, United States
  • 1997–2011
    • Harvard Medical School
      • • Department of Surgery
      • • Department of Medicine
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States