Chemical Injury: Experience with an Advanced Approach

Mr Jozef Verbelen1, Mr Hendrik Hoeksema1, Dr Karel Claes1, Prof. Stan Monstrey1

1University Hospital Gent, Gent, Belgium


Objectives:Chemical burns are a specific kind of injury requiring customized therapy.
Water is still considered to be the golden standard in emergency rinsing of chemical injuries but there are additional options involving hypertonic solutions based on amphoteric and chelating molecules.
In March 2012 we started applying two varieties of the above-mentioned agents in the emergency management of chemical injuries. One agent is specifically intended for decontamination of hydrofluoric acid splashes (Hexafluorine®). The other solution (Diphoterine®) is indicated for all further kinds of acid or alkaline splashing.
Question remained if the modern solutions really made a difference.

Methods:We retrospectively compared emergency treatment of chemical injuries admitted in our hospital between January 1st 2008 and December 31st 2015. In the “control” group only water was used. In the “advanced approach” group, according to indication, the previously described hypertonic solutions were applied, possibly preceded by rinsing with water.
Both research groups were statistically (SPSS 23) compared for composition (gender, age, burn cause, triage), need for surgery and days of hospitalization.

Results:112 patients were included for statistical analysis, 66 in the “control” group and 46 in the “advanced approach” group.
As far as composition is concerned both research groups were comparable.
Statistics revealed significantly less surgery (p<0.0001) and a significantly shorter hospital stay (p=0.031) in the “advanced approach” group when compared to the “control” group.

Discussion / Conclusion: In our hospital, patients with chemical injury clearly benefited from the application of an advanced approach, involving hypertonic solutions based on amphoteric and chelating molecules, in the emergency treatment of this kind of trauma.


1989: Graduated as a nurse

2006 Master degree in Nursing

2009 Burn Care Coordinator (Burn Centre University Hospital Gent, Belgium)


ANZBA is a not for profit organisation and the peak body for health professionals responsible for the care of the burn injured in Australia and New Zealand. ANZBA encourages higher standards of care through education, performance monitoring and research.

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