Survival after hypocalcemia, hypomagnesemia, hypokalemia and cardiac arrest following mild hydrofluoric acid burn

Clin Toxicol (Phila). 2010 Nov;48(9):953-5. doi: 10.3109/15563650.2010.533676.


Background: Although hydrofluoric (HF) acid burns may cause extensive tissue damage, severe systemic toxicity is not common after mild dermal exposure.

Case: A 36-year-old worker suffered a first-degree burn of 3% of his total body surface area as a result of being splashed on the right thigh with 20% HF acid. Immediate irrigation and topical use of calcium gluconate gel prevented local injury. However, the patient developed hypocalcemia and hypomagnesemia, hypokalemia, bradycardia, and eventually had asystole at 16 h post-exposure, which were unusual findings. He was successfully resuscitated by administration of calcium, magnesium, and potassium.

Conclusion: This report highlights a late risk of HF acid dermal exposure.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Burns, Chemical / complications*
  • Burns, Chemical / mortality
  • Heart Arrest / mortality*
  • Humans
  • Hydrofluoric Acid / poisoning*
  • Hypocalcemia / chemically induced*
  • Hypokalemia / chemically induced*
  • Magnesium / blood*
  • Male


  • Magnesium
  • Hydrofluoric Acid