Acid ingestion: toxicology and treatment

Ann Emerg Med. 1980 Jul;9(7):374-9. doi: 10.1016/s0196-0644(80)80116-8.


The effects of strong acid ingestion are distinctly different from those of alkali. Strong acids produce superficial injuries to the esophagus and deep injuries to various portions of the stomach. Prevailing early treatment recommendations of simple dilution or weak-base neutralization are inappropriate because of their extraordinary thermal results. Dilution of concentrated sulfuric acid with an equivalent volume of water results in a temperature elevation of approximately 80 C. Neutralization results in even greater heat production. Vigorous gastric aspiration prior to cold fluid lavage is the management of choice in cases treated immediately following acid ingestion.

MeSH terms

  • Acids / pharmacology
  • Acids / poisoning*
  • Burns, Chemical / therapy*
  • Drug Interactions
  • Esophagus / injuries*
  • Gastric Lavage
  • Hot Temperature
  • Humans
  • Stomach / injuries*
  • Suction
  • Sulfuric Acids / poisoning
  • Water / pharmacology


  • Acids
  • Sulfuric Acids
  • Water