Chemical Burn: Diagnosis and Treatments

  • Ali Izadpanah


Chemical burns are caused by corrosive agents (acids and alkali) leading to tissue damage. These injuries comprise 10% of burn injuries with majority occurring due to household accidents, work accidents or even self-inflicted. The total body surface area (TBSA) involved in these injuries is usually less than thermal injuries; however, the depth and the extent of injuries could be more extensive than the thermal counterparts. In addition, special organs involvements such as eye, mucosa, or even renal and hepatic could have substantial subsequences. A review of common injuries involving acids, bases and the special considerations in decontamination and treatment of special agents are discussed in this chapter.


Chemical burn Alkali Acid 


  1. 1.
    Pruitt BA Jr. The burn patient: I. Initial care. Curr Probl Surg. 1979;16(4):1–55.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Kaufman T, Ullmann Y, Har-Shai Y. Phosphorus burns: a practical approach to local treatment. J Burn Care Rehabil. 1988;9(5):474–5.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Larson DL, Abston S. Acutely burned patient. Initial care and closure of burn wound. N Y State J Med. 1970;70(12):1626–33.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Sykes RA, Mani MM, Hiebert JM. Chemical burns: retrospective review. J Burn Care Rehabil. 1986;7(4):343–7.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Xiang H, et al. Work-related eye injuries treated in hospital emergency departments in the US. Am J Ind Med. 2005;48(1):57–62.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Morgan SJ. Chemical burns of the eye: causes and management. Br J Ophthalmol. 1987;71(11):854–7.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Dua HS, King AJ, Joseph A. A new classification of ocular surface burns. Br J Ophthalmol. 2001;85(11):1379–83.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Gumaste VV, Dave PB. Ingestion of corrosive substances by adults. Am J Gastroenterol. 1992;87(1):1–5.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Poley JW, et al. Ingestion of acid and alkaline agents: outcome and prognostic value of early upper endoscopy. Gastrointest Endosc. 2004;60(3):372–7.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Osman M, et al. Responses of the murine esophageal microcirculation to acute exposure to alkali, acid, or hypochlorite. J Pediatr Surg. 2008;43(9):1672–8.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Zargar SA, et al. The role of fiberoptic endoscopy in the management of corrosive ingestion and modified endoscopic classification of burns. Gastrointest Endosc. 1991;37(2):165–9.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Mutaf O, et al. Gastroesophageal reflux: a determinant in the outcome of caustic esophageal burns. J Pediatr Surg. 1996;31(11):1494–5.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    ASGE Technology Committee, et al. Drug-eluting/biodegradable stents. Gastrointest Endosc. 2011;74(5):954–8.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Gunel E, et al. Effect of antioxidant therapy on collagen synthesis in corrosive esophageal burns. Pediatr Surg Int. 2002;18(1):24–7.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    McGrath K, Brazer S. Combined antegrade and retrograde dilation: a new endoscopic technique in the management of complex esophageal obstruction. Gastrointest Endosc. 2002;56(1):163–4.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Bueno R, et al. Combined antegrade and retrograde dilation: a new endoscopic technique in the management of complex esophageal obstruction. Gastrointest Endosc. 2001;54(3):368–72.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Mukherjee K, et al. Antegrade and retrograde endoscopy for treatment of esophageal stricture. Am Surg. 2008;74(8):686–7; discussion 688PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Jelenko C 3rd, Story J, Ellison RG Jr. Ingestion of mineral acid. Am Surg. 1974;40(2):97–104.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Jelenko C 3rd. Chemicals that “burn”. J Trauma. 1974;14(1):65–72.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Palao R, et al. Chemical burns: pathophysiology and treatment. Burns. 2010;36(3):295–304.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Sheridan RL, et al. Emergency management of major hydrofluoric acid exposures. Burns. 1995;21(1):62–4.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Husain MT, Hasanain J, Kumar P. Sulphuric acid burns: report of a mass domestic accident. Burns. 1989;15(6):389–91.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Eldad A, et al. Phosphorous pentachloride chemical burn—a slowly healing injury. Burns. 1992;18(4):340–1.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Eldad A, Simon GA. The phosphorous burn—a preliminary comparative experimental study of various forms of treatment. Burns. 1991;17(3):198–200.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Solem LD. Emergent management of chemical burns. West J Med. 1987;147(3):308.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Benmeir P, et al. Chemical burn due to contact with soda lime on the playground: a potential hazard for football players. Burns. 1993;19(4):358–9.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Papini RP. ‘Is all that’s blistered burned?’ … a case of kerosene contact burns. Burns. 1991;17(5):415–6.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Lin CH, Yang JY. Chemical burn with cresol intoxication and multiple organ failure. Burns. 1992;18(2):162–6.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ali Izadpanah
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Department of SurgeryRegional Burn Unit, University of Montreal Health CentreMontrealCanada

Personalised recommendations