Taser Use Does Not Cause Fatal Cardiac Dysrhythmias

No evidence of fatal cardiac dysrhythmias found after chest impact of Taser probe devices

WEDNESDAY, July 4 (HealthDay News) -- The field use of conducted electrical weapons (CEWs), or Tasers, with a probe impact configuration capable of causing a transcardiac discharge vector does not result in immediately fatal cardiac dysrhythmias, according to research published online June 6 in the Journal of Emergency Medicine.

William P. Bozeman, M.D., of the Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston Salem, N.C., and colleagues conducted a retrospective review of data from a multicenter database involving 1,201 consecutive cases of CEW uses by law enforcement officers. Cases with paired probe configurations which potentially produced a transcardiac discharge vector were identified.

The researcher found that 813 uses of CEWs involved probe deployment and 178 had paired anterior probe impacts which were theoretically capable of producing a transcardiac discharge vector, representing 14.8 percent of all uses and 21.9 percent of uses in probe mode. In none of the cases were there immediate deaths suggestive of cardiac dysrhythmia, including in cases with a transcardiac discharge vector.

"There were no adverse outcomes suggestive of fatal cardiac dysrhythmia in either the transcardiac cases or the extra-cardiac cases," the authors write. "These findings based on actual field data confirm that fatal cardiac dysrhythmias are unlikely to occur when CEWs are deployed on human subjects in real-life situations, even with transcardiac placement of CEW probes."

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