Electrical shock and lightning strike.


Electrical shock and lightning strike.


Fontanarosa P B


Annals of emergency medicine




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, the chance for successful resuscitation may be greater for patients who experience sudden death from electrical shock or lightning strike than for those with other causes of cardiac arrest, even among patients with initial rhythms traditionally unresponsive to therapy. Although numerous specialized aspects are required for the successful management of victims of electrical shock and lightning strike, the following article focuses on the unique considerations necessary for immediate care of cardiac arrest victims, with emphasis on the underlying mechanisms of sudden death and currently recommended guidelines for resuscitation.


Electric Injuries/complications/epidemiology/*therapy; Heart Arrest/etiology/therapy; Heart Injuries/etiology; Humans; Lightning Injuries/complications/epidemiology/*therapy; Prognosis; Resuscitation/*methods; United States


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Fontanarosa P B, “Electrical shock and lightning strike.,” NEOMED Bibliography Database, accessed May 16, 2022, https://neomed.omeka.net/items/show/3897.

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