Electrical injury

High-voltage electrical injury causes approximately 1000 deaths annually in the US.

Electrical injuries caused death mostly from ventricular fibrillation, asystole, a loss of respiratory control.

High-voltage exposure refers to greater than 1000V and accounts for 2/3 of the mortality rate.

Low voltage contact injuries occur more likely in the home.

Alternating current exposure causes tetanic flexor muscle contraction and causes an individual’s hands to lock onto the source of current.

Alternating current is associated with ventricular fibrillation.

Usually electrothermal burns are present at the site of contact and grounding.

Electrothermal burns are usually painless, dry, cratering, surrounded by edema and erythema.

Flash burns may be present due to electrical transmission through the skin.

Organ damage may occur.

Major complications are arrhythmias, rhabdomyolysis, apnea and neurological injury.

Arrhythmias may occur immediately after injury, but can develop after 12 hours later.

Post injury monitoring include: CPK, troponin levels, and renal functions.

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