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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Topical treatments for hydrofluoric acid burns: a blind controlled experimental study.

BACKGROUND: Calcium gluconate gel, applied after initial rinsing with water, has a documented effect as first aid treatment for hydrofluoric acid burns. Hexafluorine is a novel liquid compound developed especially for emergency decontamination of hydrofluoric acid eye and skin exposures. However, scientific documentation of the effect of Hexafluorine is insufficient. This study was undertaken to compare Hexafluorine with water rinsing plus topical calcium and with water rinsing alone. METHODS: Thirty-five Sprague-Dawley rats were anesthetized and their backs shaved. Four filter papers 10 mm in diameter were soaked in 50% hydrofluoric acid and applied on the shaved area of each rat for 3 minutes. Thirty seconds later, the acid-exposed skin areas were rinsed with 500 mL Hexafluorine for 3 minutes (group H, n = 10), 500 mL water for 3 minutes (group W, n = 10) or 500 mL water for 3 minutes followed by a single application of 2.5% calcium gluconate gel (group Ca, n = 10), or received no treatment (controls, n = 5). The animals were closely observed for 5 days. Daily at 4 P.M. each of the four burns on every rat was rated on a modified Draize scale graded from 0 to 5 (0 = no visible injury, 1 = diffuse erythema, 2 = distinct erythema, 3 = distinct erythema plus wounds or discolored spots, 4 = distinct erythema plus wounds or discolored areas covering >50% of the burn, 5 = a necrotic wound covering the whole burn). The mean of the four scores was then calculated for each animal and day. The rating procedure was performed by one laboratory assistant who was unaware of the treatment given. Kruskal-Wallis analysis was used to evaluate possible differences between treatment groups on each of the 5 days. If the p-value obtained was <0.05, correction for multiple comparisons was made. RESULTS: The mean severity score in group H was significantly higher than that in group Ca on days 2 and 3. Moreover, Hexafluorine showed a consistent trend towards a worse outcome, both in comparison to water plus topical calcium and to water rinsing alone. CONCLUSION: Based on these observations it is concluded that water rinsing followed by topical calcium should remain the standard first aid treatment for skin exposure to hydrofluoric acid.[1]


  1. Topical treatments for hydrofluoric acid burns: a blind controlled experimental study. Höjer, J., Personne, M., Hultén, P., Ludwigs, U. J. Toxicol. Clin. Toxicol. (2002) [Pubmed]
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