Caustic substances injure tissue by means of a chemical reaction on direct physical contact. Often thought of as acids or bases, caustics broadly include desiccants, vesicants, and protoplasmic poisons. The term “corrosive” is often used interchangeably with “caustic,” but corrosion implies a mechanical degradation, which does not always apply to caustics.
Caustics are present at home and in industry. They cause injury after dermal, ocular, or gastrointestinal contact. Commonly ingested household caustics include lye (sodium or potassium hydroxide) found in drain cleaners and hair relaxers, bleach (sodium hypochlorite) or ammonia (ammonium hydroxide) found in cleaning products, and highly concentrated acids (e.g., hydrochloric acid) found in the toilet bowl or swimming pool cleaners.
This review published in the New England Journal of Medicine provides an update on the pathophysiology, and clinical assessment of ingestions of caustic materials, with an emphasis on treatment approaches.
Note: This list is a brief compilation of some of the key information included in the article and is not exhaustive and does not constitute medical advice. Kindly refer to the original article in the document attached below: