TABLE 1966 Effects of Electricity

The pathway that the current takes through the body also determines the nature of injury. Current that traverses the body vertically is more likely to induce cardiac damage or produce respiratory arrest than is current that transverses horizontally. 5

Electric weapons, such as the stun gun and Taser, produce a series of damped sinusoidal electrical pulses, typically 10 to 15/s, designed to induce involuntary muscle contraction and incapacitation in the victim.67 The amount of current delivered depends on the device output (typically 50,000 V for a Taser) and the nature of the electrical contact. Although most patients do not sustain demonstrable injury from electric weapons, several individuals have died within minutes of their use, presumably from cardiac arrhythmias. Most deaths were associated with concomitant drug use (usually phencyclidine), trauma due to struggling, or preexisting cardiac disease.8

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