Articles Posted in Burns From Hydrofluoric Acid (HF)

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Hydrofluoric acid is a combination of hydrogen fluoride in water; it is used mainly for industrial purposes such as glass etching, metal cleaning and pesticide production. It’s also found in house hold uses such as rust removers and heavy duty cleaners and aluminum brighteners.

Hydrofluoric acid is a weak acid that exists predominantly in the undissociated state that enables the acid to penetrate deep in the skin and soft tissue. Liquefactive necrosis of soft tissue and bones is caused when fluoride is liberated from hydrofluoric acid in tissue. Electrolyte disturbance can happen when the free fluoride ion binds to calcium and magnesium ions. Systemic toxicity can result from exposure to HF due to its ability to penetrate tissue, the degree of toxicity depend on the duration of exposure, the concentration of HF, the exposure route and the size of surface area affected. Any co morbidities should be considered with these factors to determine poisoning severity and treatment type to be given.

Clinical features of exposure to HF: