Evaluation of intravenous magnesium sulfate for the treatment of hydrofluoric acid burns

R D Cox, K A Osgood
Journal of Toxicology. Clinical Toxicology 1994, 32 (2): 123-36
Hydrofluoric acid exposures to the skin can produce severe, progressive burns. Medical treatment of these burns is aimed at neutralizing the free fluoride ion, which is felt to be responsible for burn progression. Both calcium and magnesium will form complexes with free fluoride and have been used as topical or intradermal treatments in the past. This study evaluated the efficacy of intravenous magnesium sulfate for the treatment of hydrofluoric acid burns and compared this treatment to controls and burns treated with intradermal calcium gluconate in a rabbit model. Both treatments demonstrated a reduction in burn area over time, wound depth, healing time and final scar area compared to controls. The intravenous magnesium treatment showed trends toward improved outcome compared to the intradermal calcium treatment in all parameters evaluated, but these differences did not reach statistical significance. This investigation found intravenous magnesium to be an effective method for treating hydrofluoric acid burns. Intravenous magnesium may have significant utility for treating hydrofluoric acid burns that are not amenable to current therapies.

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