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Hydrofluoric Acid Exposure: A Case Report and Review on the Clinical Presentation and Management

Strausburg, Matthew BS*; Travers, Jeffrey MD, PhD; Mousdicas, Nico MD

doi: 10.1097/DER.0b013e31826e457a
Case Reports

Exposure to hydrofluoric acid can cause severe skin damage via both corrosive and chemical means. Dermatologists should be aware of the various clinical presentations and knowledgeable of how to manage such patients. A case of a man with exposure of the hands after use of a consumer product containing hydrofluoric acid is presented. The presentation may vary depending on the concentration and duration of exposure. Patients experiencing exposure are at risk of serious complications, including death, resulting from electrolyte abnormalities. Information regarding the source of exposure will allow the physician to better predict the patient’s course. The use of immediate flushing with water and the use of topical calcium gluconate can prevent extensive damage to the area of exposure and potentially fatal complications that may occur. More extensive burns may necessitate more invasive therapies. The treatment and the management and monitoring of such cases will allow for more optimal outcomes.

Author Information

From the *Indiana University School of Medicine; and †Department of Dermatology, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN.

Address reprint requests to Matthew Strausburg, BS, 1427 E New York St, Indianapolis, IN 46201. E-mail:

The authors have no funding or conflicts of interest to declare.

©2012American Contact Dermatitis Society, All Right Reserved

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