(HealthDay News) – The field use of conducted electrical weapons (CEWs), or Tasers, with a probe impact configuration capable of causing a transcardiac discharge vector does not result in immediately fatal cardiac dysrhythmias.
William P. Bozeman, MD, of the Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston Salem, NC, and colleagues conducted a retrospective review of data from a multicenter database involving 1,201 consecutive cases of CEW uses by law enforcement officers. Cases with paired probe configurations which potentially produced a transcardiac discharge vector were identified.
The researcher found that 813 uses of CEWs involved probe deployment and 178 had paired anterior probe impacts which were theoretically capable of producing a transcardiac discharge vector, representing 14.8% of all uses and 21.9% of uses in probe mode. In none of the cases were there immediate deaths suggestive of cardiac dysrhythmia, including in cases with a transcardiac discharge vector.
“There were no adverse outcomes suggestive of fatal cardiac dysrhythmia in either the transcardiac cases or the extra-cardiac cases,” the authors write. “These findings based on actual field data confirm that fatal cardiac dysrhythmias are unlikely to occur when CEWs are deployed on human subjects in real-life situations, even with transcardiac placement of CEW probes.”