What are the initial complications of caustic ingestions?

Updated: Dec 09, 2020
  • Author: Derrick Lung, MD, MPH, FACEP, FACMT; Chief Editor: David Vearrier, MD, MPH  more...
  • Print

Airway obstruction may occur secondary to edema, bleeding, and the presence of necrotic material. Because this can develop rapidly, airway protection is paramount following caustic ingestions. Delays in securing a definitive airway can result in increased difficulty due to progressive airway edema.

Esophageal gastric, bowel, airway, or vascular perforation may occur.

Fluid losses from vomiting, third spacing, and gastrointestinal bleeding may lead to hypovolemia and shock. This is particularly true after ingestion of metallic chlorides.

After significant acidic ingestions, the patient may develop metabolic acidosis, hemolysis, and multiorgan failure including acute renal failure.

Hypocalcemia develops precipitously after ingestion of significant amounts of hydrogen fluoride.

Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!