Determination of tissue viability in experimental electrical injuries

The Journal of Burn Care & Rehabilitation
M ChilbertA Sances


Electrical burns or ischemia (induced by vascular ligation) were produced in the legs of 15 anesthetized dogs to study evolution of tissue changes compared with impedance alterations. After the application of 1-ampere currents at 60 Hz, animals were monitored from 1 to 4 days. Muscle impendance was measured with frequency sweeping to determine tissue destruction. Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (phosphorus 31) was used to assess metabolic activity, and results were compared to impedance measurements. In burned limbs, 70% reduction in muscle impedance was seen, which corresponds to decreased metabolic activity (absent organic phosphates) and suggests necrosis. Visually viable tissue had impedance decreases of 25% and levels of organic phosphates slightly lower than normal. Relaxation frequencies in dogs with severe burns exceeded 80 kHz; in viable tissue, 30 to 40 kHz (normal: 30 kHz). In ischemic muscle, organic phosphates decreased rapidly (1 to 2 hours); impedance changes evolved more slowly (1 day), but they ultimately reached the same degree of severity. Measurement of impedance may be a valuable adjunct in the evaluation of electrical burns, since significant changes strongly suggest nonviability.


Dec 1, 1994·Burns : Journal of the International Society for Burn Injuries·P Kumar, R Varma
Sep 1, 1995·Burns : Journal of the International Society for Burn Injuries·E DelayJ Latarjet
Mar 1, 1997·Burns : Journal of the International Society for Burn Injuries·A SagiL Rosenberg

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