Accidental skin burns by fire of an antiseptic agent ignition by the spark of electric cautery

Hiroshi Hoshijima, Risa Takeuchi, Eiru Sato, Hirosato Kikuchi

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Surgical fire is a rare complication during the operative period. But, it is a severe complication when it occurs. There are antiseptic agents with strong inflammability used for skin preparation. We report accidental skin burns caused by the spark of electric cautery. The patient was a 29-year-old (50 kg, 158 cm, physical status ASA1) woman who underwent laparotomy for acute abdomen. Anesthesia was induced and tracheal intubation was performed without trouble. Anesthesia was maintained with oxygen, air, remifentanil and sevoflurane. The skin of the surgical site was sterilized with an alcoholic antiseptic containing Chlorhexidine before the operation. Several minutes after the start of operation, a fire occurred on using the electric cautery. Immediately, fire was extinguished by hands. The cover cloth is peeled off and it was confirmed that the burn extended from the right thoracic region to the buttocks. After cooling, it became a burn of II to III degrees. Operation was restarted, and at the end, the patient was allowed to breathe spontaneously for 5 minutes and extubated afterwards. The disinfectant with alcoholic content has a strong inflammability. It is necessary to dry it enough before using cautery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1438-1440
Number of pages3
JournalJapanese Journal of Anesthesiology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Nov 10


  • Burns
  • Disinfectant
  • Ignition


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