Contact with electrical current causes injury through thermal heating, induced muscle contraction, thermal burns, and blunt trauma (IableJ.96-4). Direct tissue heating, predicted by Joule's law, has been generally implicated as the direct etiology of tissue damage from electricity, although that concept has been challenged when contact time is brief.4 Regardless, current intensity is the most critical determinant of tissue damage, but from a practical standpoint, while voltage is frequently known in an electrical exposure, current is not. Ihus, voltage is usually used as a proxy for current in predicting the potential damage from an electrical shock.
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