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Lakkireddy D, Wallick D, Verma A, Ryschon K, Kowalewski W, Wazni O, Butany J, Martin D, Tchou PJ. Pacing Clin. Electrophysiol. 2008; 31(4): 398-408.


Mid America Cardiology at University of Kansas Hospital, Kansas City, Kansas, USA.


(Copyright © 2008, John Wiley and Sons)






BACKGROUND: The use of electrical stun guns has been rising among law enforcement authorities for subduing violent subjects. Multiple reports have raised concerns over their safety. The cardiovascular safety profile of these devices in relationship to the position of delivery on the torso has not been well studied. METHODS: We tested 13 adult pigs using a custom device built to deliver neuromuscular incapacitating (NMI) discharge of increasing intensity that matched the waveform of a commercially available stun gun (TASER(R) X-26, TASER International, Scottsdale, AZ, USA). Discharges with increasing multiples of output capacitances were applied in a step-up and step-down fashion, using two-tethered barbs at five locations: (1) Sternal notch to cardiac apex (position-1), (2) sternal notch to supraumbilical area (position-2), (3) sternal notch to infraumbilical area (position-3), (4) side to side on the chest (position-4), and (5) upper to lower mid-posterior torso (position-5). Endpoints included determination of maximum safe multiple (MaxSM), ventricular fibrillation threshold (VFT), and minimum ventricular fibrillation induction multiple (MinVFIM). RESULTS: Standard TASER discharges repeated three times did not cause ventricular fibrillation (VF) at any of the five locations. When the barbs were applied in the axis of the heart (position-1), MaxSM and MinVFIM were significantly lower than when applied away from the heart, on the dorsum (position-5) (4.31 +/- 1.11 vs 40.77 +/- 9.54, P< 0.001 and 8.31 +/- 2.69 vs 50.77 +/- 9.54, P< 0.001, respectively). The values of these endpoints at position-2, position-3, and position-4 were progressively higher and ranged in between those of position-1 and position-5. Presence of ventricular capture at a 2:1 ratio to the delivered TASER impulses correlated with induction of VF. No significant metabolic changes were seen after standard NMI TASER discharge. There was no evidence of myocardial damage based on serum cardiac markers, electrocardiography, echocardiography, and histopathologic findings confirming the absence of significant cardiac effects. CONCLUSIONS: Standard TASER discharges did not cause VF at any of the positions. Induction of VF at higher output multiples appear to be sensitive to electrode distance from the heart, giving highest ventricular fibrillation safety margin when the electrodes are placed on the dorsum. Rapid ventricular capture appears to be a likely mechanism of VF induction by higher output TASER discharges.

Language: en


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