Electrical and lightning injuries

Journal of Burn Care & Research : Official Publication of the American Burn Association
Hemmat MaghsoudiNahid Ahmadian

Abstract

The aim of this study was to explore the mechanisms, complications, morbidity, and mortality associated with electrical injuries. Of 5053 acute burn admissions during a 5-year period, 202 patients (4%) had electrical burn injuries. Their mean age was 27.5 years (range, 3-71 years). Ninety-eight percent were male, and the extent of burn ranged from 1% to 70% TBSA (mean, 10.5 +/- 10.7% TBSA). High-voltage electricity caused 54% of the electrical injuries. Forty-two percent were caused by low-voltage currents and 4% by lightning. A total of 217 surgical procedures were performed on 202 patients Fifteen patients (7.4%) required amputation. All patients who had abnormal electrocardiograms underwent cardiac monitoring. Four had cardiac complications. Mean hospital stay was 13.9 +/- 14.6 days (range, 1-90). Four patients (2%) died. Electrical burn injuries continue to be a serious problem of modern society. Climbing power poles is the most common mechanism for high-voltage injury. Special consideration is required to prevent this type of injury in our region.

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