Study objective: To compare topical preparations of magnesium and calcium in the treatment of dermal hydrofluoric acid burns.
Design: A randomized, blinded, controlled animal model study.
Setting: Animal care facility.
Type of participants: New Zealand rabbits.
Interventions: Each rabbit was burned with hydrofluoric acid at four sites along the thoracolumbar spine. Equimolar amounts of calcium gluconate, magnesium gluconate, and a magnesium hydroxide antacid were added into a lubricating jelly. The jelly alone was a control preparation. After a water rinse, the burns were massaged with the gels for 1 minute five times; at 4 and 20 minutes and at 1, 4, and 24 hours. Each rabbit served as its own control by receiving all four treatments.
Measurements and main results: Burn diameter and burn surface area diminished over time, but there were no statistically significantly differences among the treatments. Burn ranking and burn rating of severity also did not demonstrate differences. The histologic analysis of the burns, however, demonstrated that calcium gluconate-treated burns were less severe and more superficial than the control and magnesium gluconate-treated burns; the magnesium hydroxide antacid-treated burns were not statistically different compared to the calcium gluconate-treated burns.
Conclusion: Topical calcium gluconate is an efficacious treatment for dermal hydrofluoric acid burns. Further research is needed to determine the role of magnesium-containing antacids in the treatment of hydrofluoric acid burns.