JOURNAL ARTICLE

Successful treatments of lung injury and skin burn due to hydrofluoric acid exposure

K Kono, T Watanabe, T Dote, K Usuda, H Nishiura, T Tagawa, M Tominaga, Y Higuchi, M Onnda
International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health 2000, 73 Suppl: S93-7
10968568
Recent growth in the electronics and chemical industries has brought about a progressive increase in the use of hydrofluoric acid (HF), along with the concomitant risk of acute poisoning among HF workers. We report severe cases of inhalation exposure and skin injury which were successfully treated by administering a 5% calcium gluconate solution with a nebulizer and applying 2.5% calcium gluconate jelly, respectively. Case 1: A 52-year old worker used HF for surface treatment after welding stainless steel, and was hospitalized with rapid onset of severe dyspnea. On admission to the critical care medical center he had widespread wheezing and crackles in his lungs. Chest radiograph showed a fine diffuse veiling over both lower pulmonary fields. Severe hypocalcemia with high concentrations of F in serum and urine were disclosed. He was immediately given 5% calcium gluconate solution by intermittent positive-pressure breathing (IPPB), utilizing a nebulizer. On the 21st hospital day, chest film and CT scan did not demonstrate any abnormality. He was discharged very much improved on the 22nd hospital day. Case 2: A 35-year old worker at an electronics factory was admitted to his local hospital with severe skin burn on his face and neck after exposure to 100% HF. Treatment began with immediate copious washing with water for 20 min. Calcium gluconate 2.5% gel (HF burn jelly) was applied to the area as a first-aid measure. Persistent high concentrations of serum and urinary F were disclosed for 2 weeks. After treatment with applications of HF burn jelly, he was confirmed as being completely recovered. The present cases and a review of published data suggest that an adequate method of emergency treatment for accidental HF poisoning is necessary.

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