Electrical injury

Last reviewed: 24 Apr 2022
Last updated: 28 Aug 2020

Summary

Definition

History and exam

Key diagnostic factors

  • presence of risk factors
  • loss of consciousness
  • pre-hospital CPR or defibrillation
  • tachycardia
  • hypotension
  • low Glasgow coma score
  • burns
  • physical injuries
More key diagnostic factors

Other diagnostic factors

  • diminished peripheral pulses and poor capillary refill
  • low core body temperature
  • confusion
  • paralysis
Other diagnostic factors

Risk factors

  • age <6 years
  • construction industry workers
  • male sex
  • participation in outdoor sports
More risk factors

Diagnostic investigations

1st investigations to order

  • ECG
  • FBC
  • electrolytes
  • LFTs
  • coagulation studies
  • creatine kinase
  • urine myoglobin
  • cardiac enzymes (CK-MB and troponin)
  • toxicology screen
  • CXR
More 1st investigations to order

Investigations to consider

  • plain x-rays
  • head CT
  • head MRI
  • compartment pressure measurements
More investigations to consider

Treatment algorithm

ACUTE

all patients

Contributors

Authors

Baljit Dheansa, MBBS, FRCS, MSc, FRCS (Plast)

Consultant Burns, Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon

Honorary Senior Lecturer

Queen Victoria Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

West Sussex

UK

Disclosures

BD receives reimbursement for his time as a member of the data monitoring committee for a trial using Nexobrid, a product used in treating burns.

Juan Enrique Berner, MD, MSc, MRCS

Senior Fellow in Plastic Surgery

Queen Victoria Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

West Sussex

UK

Disclosures

JEB declares that he has no competing interests.

Acknowledgements

Mr Dheansa and Dr Berner would like to gratefully acknowledge Dr T Grant Phillips, a previous contributor to this topic. TGP declares that he has no competing interests.

Peer reviewers

Stephen J. Ritz, DO

UPMC St. Margaret Family Medicine Residency and Faculty Development Fellowship

Osteopathic Family Practice/Rotating Internship Program

Pittsburgh

PA

Disclosures

SJR declares that he has no competing interests.

Catalina C. Ionita, MD

Assistant Professor of Neurology and Neurosurgery

SUNY

Buffalo

NY

Disclosures

CCI declares that she has no competing interests.

Bernd Hartmann, MD

Chief Physician

Centre for Severe Burns Injuries with Plastic Surgery

Unfallkrankenhaus Berlin (Trauma Hospital Berlin)

Berlin

Germany

Disclosures

BH declares that he has no competing interests.

  • Differentials

    • Cardiac arrest
    • Ventricular arrhythmia
    • Illicit drug use
    More Differentials
  • Guidelines

    • European Resuscitation Council guidelines 2021
    • NSW rural adult emergency clinical guidelines, (4.1 ed)
    More Guidelines
  • Patient leaflets

    Burns (minor)

    More Patient leaflets
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