A study to determine the efficacy of treatments for hydrofluoric acid burns

S T Seyb, L Noordhoek, S Botens, M M Mani
Journal of Burn Care & Rehabilitation 1995, 16 (3 Pt 1): 253-7
Hydrofluoric acid burns are characterized by progressive tissue destruction and severe pain. Fluoride ion chelators, such as salts of calcium and magnesium, have been used to treat these burns. This study was designed to compare the efficacy of several treatment methods that involve the use of these salts. Standard hydrofluoric acid burns were produced on the shaved hindquarters of rats. After being rinsed with water, the chemical burns were treated by one of seven experimental methods. The progress of the chemical burn damage was observed for 1 week by measuring the surface areas of the burns. Calcium gluconate burn jelly, 20% calcium gluconate in water, and 50% aqueous dimethyl sulfoxide did not significantly slow the spread of the burn area. However, subcutaneous injections of calcium gluconate or magnesium sulfate and topical applications of calcium gluconate in a solution of dimethyl sulfoxide significantly slowed the progress of the burns during the first 24 hours and enhanced tissue recovery for the remainder of the observation period. These results indicate that subcutaneous injections of magnesium or calcium salts appear to be more effective than conventional topical applications in the treatment of hydrofluoric acid burns. More significantly, topically applied calcium gluconate combined with a penetration enhancer, such as dimethyl sulfoxide, is as effective as injection treatments in reducing damage caused by hydrofluoric acid.

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