The anatomical lesions found in the stomach after death vary according to the concentration of the acid, and the duration of its effects. In milder cases, the epithelial and the upper layer of the rete mucosum are shrunk, parchment-like and greyish: in the severest, the whole tissue is mortified, blackened, and changed into a soft gangrenous mass. Fatty degeneration of different organs has also been lately described as a constant result of poisoning by sulphuric acid, and particularly in the liver, the striped muscular tissue, the heart, and the renal epithelium. This change is to some extent explained by the destructive action on the red corpuscles, which are in part destroyed, and in part altered, becoming smaller, darker, and of granular appearance, and certainly unequal to their proper function; hence the tissues are imperfectly nourished, and readily degenerate. The same alteration in the oxygen-carriers explains the lowered temperature, the feeble pulse, and the general debility, as well as the functional albuminuria from excretion of constituents of the altered blood-cells.


The other acids and cooling remedies are allied in action, and, as regards styptic effects, ergot and astringents generally are auxiliaries.

Antagonists - Incompatibles

Warm stimulating remedies and "fluidifying" medicines, such as mercury and iodides, antagonize some of the effects of sulphuric acid. Alkalies and bases are chemically incompatible. The best antidotes in a case of poisoning are magnesia, chalk or white-wash, and soap, which should be given in albuminous solutions, such as milk and water. Alkaline carbonates are considered not advisable because they form irritant compounds (Christison); also they evolve much carbonic acid, but may be used in cases of emergency. Oil to protect the mucous membrane of the stomach is also very useful.

Therapeutical Action (External)

The highly caustic property of strong sulphuric acid is utilized comparatively seldom on account of the difficulty of restraining it within due limits.