Non-invasive quantification of skin injury resulting from exposure to sulphur mustard and Lewisite vapours
Brown, Roger F. R.
The severity and progression of skin lesions resulting from exposure to the chemical warfare agents Lewisite (L) and sulphur mustard (SM) have been investigated using the non-invasive biophysical methods of evaporimetry and reflectance spectroscopy in large white pigs in vivo. Erythema (redness) expressed immediately after exposure to L or SM vapours appeared to be related to the lesion severity as demonstrated by histopathological analysis. Skin brightness correlated well with scab formation whereas blueness (cyanosis) did not appreciably alter throughout the study. Rates of transepidermal water loss (TEWL) changed both with occlusion (during vapour exposure) and also mirrored the progression of macroscopic skin injury after 12 h. Whilst no single parameter could be used in isolation to ascertain the severity and subsequent progression of the skin lesions, measurement of erythema, skin brightness and TEWL could provide quantitative, non-invasive methods for determining the efficacy of antidotes or therapies to prevent the toxic effects of chemical warfare agents. However, neither colourimetry or TEWL provided a clinical evaluation of such lesions that were comparable with the prognostic capabilities of laser Doppler imaging. Crown Copyrig. (C) 2000 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.