Clinical predictors of myocardial damage after high voltage electrical injury

Critical Care Medicine
N C ChandraA M Munster


Myocardial damage after high voltage electrical body injury is a serious and often life-threatening situation. The purpose of this pilot study was to identify early clinical predictors of myocardial damage in patients with high voltage electrical injury. Twenty-four patients with high voltage electrical injuries and no evidence of arc burns were evaluated. In 13/24 patients the diagnosis of myocardial damage was confirmed by total creatine kinase (CK) and creatine kinase MB (CK-MB) isoenzyme elevation (group A). In these patients the total CK range was 1373 to 52,544 mU/ml. In 11/24 patients CK-MB was negative (group B) indicating absence of myocardial damage. ECG changes occurred in 10/13 group A and 4/11 group B patients (p less than .095). No patient in either group gave a history suggestive of myocardial ischemia after the electrical injury. The pathways of electricity through the body, as mapped by a line drawn between the wound(s) of entrance and exit, were vertical in all group A patients, i.e., from upper to lower body segment, vs. 5/11 group B patients with evidence of a vertical pathway (p less than .003). Group A patients also had greater body surface burns (16.0 +/- 2.7%) vs. group B patients (4.0 +/- 1.6%, p less t...Continue Reading


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