Iatrogenic Chemical Burns

Iatrogenic chemical burns have been caused by the use of potassium permanganate for dermatologic problems at an inappropriately high concentration. DMSO used as a transcutaneous vehicle for minor sprains has caused burns. Patients in the operating room may develop burns from skin-prep solutions. Thimerosal, which has a high mercury content, is the most common agent implicated. Mechanical abrasion of the skin from scrubbing and from pooling of the skin-prep agent under the torso or tourniquet predisposes patients to burns. Blister formation, skin sloughing, and eschar development have been reported in neonates when isopropyl alcohol pledgets were substituted for conducting paste beneath limb electrocardiograph electrodes. Silver nitrate utilized to cauterize umbilical granulomas in infants reportedly has caused periumbilical burns.

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