PMID: 3944840Feb 1, 1986Paper

Electrocardiographic monitoring after electrical injury: necessity or luxury

The Journal of Trauma
G F Purdue, J L Hunt


It has been common practice to perform routine electrocardiographic (EKG) monitoring of electrically burned patients for the first 24 hours following injury. Is this monitoring necessary, or is it a luxury based on remote probabilities? The records of 48 consecutive patients admitted with high-voltage (greater than 1,000 volts) electrical injuries were reviewed with respect to history of a cardiac event in the field, EKG abnormalities on admission, and the presence of cardiac arrhythmias during the first postinjury day. No serious arrhythmias occurred in any patients who had a normal EKG on admission. It was concluded that routine cardiac monitoring after a high-voltage injury should be individualized based on history of loss of consciousness, documentation of an arrythmia, or an abnormal EKG.


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