Caustic ingestion: controversies in management. A review of 214 cases

Laryngoscope. 1980 Jan;90(1):98-109. doi: 10.1288/00005537-198001000-00012.


Two hundred fourteen patients admitted with a history of caustic ingestion are reviewed. Sixty-five had mucosal penetrating burns. Children five years of age and under accounted for 39% of admissions, but only 8% of burns requiring treatment. Adults accounted for 48% of admissions and 81% of burns requiring treatment. Complications associated with mucosal penetrating burns occurred in 31 patients; all but one were due to lye or acids. A three year prospective study evaluating methylprednisolone in the management of caustic burns is reported. This included 24 patients with mucosal penetrating burns due to lye or acids. The results of this study, and this review as a whole, indicate that methylprednisolone is beneficial in moderately severe burns due to lye, but is not indicated for severe burns from liquid lye, or for acid burns.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Home
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Ammonia
  • Burns, Chemical / therapy*
  • Caustics*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Deglutition
  • Esophageal Stenosis / chemically induced
  • Esophageal Stenosis / therapy
  • Female
  • Household Products
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intestinal Mucosa / injuries
  • Lye
  • Male
  • Methylprednisolone / therapeutic use
  • Mouth Mucosa / injuries
  • Oropharynx / injuries*
  • Pharyngeal Diseases / chemically induced
  • Pharyngeal Diseases / therapy
  • Suicide, Attempted


  • Caustics
  • Lye
  • Ammonia
  • Methylprednisolone