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.