Therapeutic Effects of Cooling Swine Skin Exposed to Sulfur Mustard


  1. Sawyer, T.W.
  2. Nelson, P.
  3. Hill, I.
  4. Conley, J.D.
  5. Blohm, K.
  6. Davidson, C.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Suffield, Ralston ALTA (CAN)
Recent world events has highlighted the need for effective medical therapies for chemical weaon injuries. Of the chemical weapon agents, perhaps one of the most widely used both historically and most recently in the Iran-Iraq War, is sulfur mustard (HD). No effective antidotes exist for this vesicant agent and, to this day. HD casulaties are treated entirely symptomatically. Previous work carried out in this laboratory has indicated that cooling HD-exposed tissue may amellorate the resultant injury. To further examine this, an anesthetized domestic swine model was used to investigate whether alteration of skin temperature had any effect either visually or histopathologically on the development and progression of HD-induced skin lesions over 7 days. Exposure of swine skin to HD-vapor resulted in lesions whose severity was exposure time related (4, 8, 12, and 16 minutes). Postdecontamination heating of skin above ambient temperature (-39C) resulted in worsening of the lesion, whereas postdecontamination cooling (-15C) for between 2 to 4 hours postexposure lessened the severity of HD-induced injury. The authors conclude that the early noninvasive and simplistic act of cooling HD-exposed skin may have a salutary effect on the severity of HD-induced cutaneous lesions.
HD agent;Sulfur mustard;Sulphur mustard;Vesicating effects;Cooling
Report Number
DRDC-SUFFIELD-SL-2002-057 — Scientific Literature
Date of publication
30 Nov 2002
Number of Pages
Reprinted from
Military Medicine, vol 167, 2002, p 939-943

Permanent link

Document 1 of 1

Date modified: