Electrical shock and lightning strike

Annals of Emergency Medicine
P B Fontanarosa


Cardiac arrest from electrical shock or lightning strike is associated with significant mortality and requires modification and extension of standard advanced life support measures to achieve successful resuscitation. Patients who experience electrical shock or lightning strike may sustain cardiac and respiratory arrest secondary to the direct effects of current. However, the majority of victims have associated multisystem involvement, including neurologic complications, cutaneous burns, and associated blunt trauma. As a result, a combination of advanced cardiac life support measures and advanced trauma life support techniques is indicated. Victims with cardiac arrest from electrical shock or lightning strike require prompt, aggressive resuscitation using standard methods for airway control, ventilation, and chest compressions, as well as usual measures for defibrillation and cardiac pharmacotherapy. Unique considerations include vigorous fluid resuscitation and spinal immobilization for victims of electrical shock and reversal of normal multiple casualty triage priorities when managing several lightning strike victims. Because the majority of victims are relatively young and seldom have significant underlying cardiac disease, ...Continue Reading


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