A biochemical and histologic rationale for the treatment of hydrofluoric acid burns with calcium gluconate

G. Dowbak, K. Rose, R. J. Rohrich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations


Hydrofluoric acid has unique properties that make it attractive for a variety of industrial and household uses. Exposure to dilute and concentrated solutions of hydrofluoric acid can lead to severe pain and tissue necrosis. Local treatment with topical calcium gluconate and subdermal injections of 0.5 ml 10% solution of calcium gluconate per cm2 of affected tissue has been advocated but frequently fails to relieve the patient of pain. Intraarterial infusion of calcium gluconate has been advocated for these patients, but several reports have been made of massive soft-tissue loss associated with such therapy. The purpose of this study was to show what, if any, were the microscopic effects on the distal arterial tree of intraarterial infusion of calcium gluconate. By studying 1 μm-thick cuts of distal rat aortas after proximal infusion of concentrated (10%) and dilute (2%) calcium gluconate, we were able to show that the incidence of microperforations in the intima and media of the rat aorta increased with the concentration of calcium gluconate. We conclude that intraarterial infusions should be reserved for only the most severe cases of hydrofluoric acid burns unresponsive to local therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-327
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Burn Care and Rehabilitation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Nursing(all)
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Rehabilitation
  • Health Professions(all)

Cite this