Electronic control device exposure: a review of morbidity and mortality

Annals of Emergency Medicine
Mathieu PasquierBertrand Yersin


The use of electronic control devices has expanded worldwide during the last few years, the most widely used model being the Taser. However, the scientific knowledge about electronic control devices remains limited. We reviewed the medical literature to examine the potential implications of electronic devices in terms of morbidity and mortality, and to identify and evaluate all the existing experimental human studies. A single exposure of an electronic control device on healthy individuals can be assumed to be generally safe, according to 23 prospective human experimental studies and numerous volunteer exposures. In case series, however, electronic control devices could have deleterious effects when used in the field, in particular if persons receive multiple exposures, are intoxicated, show signs of "excited delirium," or present with medical comorbidities. As the use of electronic control devices continues to increase, the controversy about its safety, notably in potentially high-risk individuals, is still a matter of debate. The complications of electronic control device exposure are numerous but often recognizable, usually resulting from barbed dart injuries or from falls. Persons exposed to electronic control devices shoul...Continue Reading


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