Objectives: TASER electronic control devices (ECDs) are used by law enforcement to subdue aggressive persons. Some deaths temporally proximate to their use have occurred. There is speculation that these devices can cause dangerous cardiac rhythms. Swine research supports this hypothesis and has reported significant tachyarrhythmias. It is not known if this occurs in humans. The objective of this study was to determine the occurrence of tachyarrhythmias in human subjects subjected to an ECD application. Methods: This was a prospective, nonblinded study. Human volunteers underwent limited echocardiography before, during, and after a 10-second TASER X26 ECD application with preplaced thoracic electrodes positioned in the upper right sternal border and the cardiac apex. Images were analyzed using M-mode through the anterior leaflet of the mitral valve for evidence of arrhythmia. Heart rate (HR) and the presence of sinus rhythm were determined. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Results: A total of 34 subjects were enrolled. There were no adverse events reported. The mean HR prior to starting the event was 108.7 beats/min (range 65 to 146 beats/min, 95% CI = 101.0 to 116.4 beats/min). During the ECD exposure, the mean HR was 120.1 beats/min (range 70 to 158 beats/-min, 95% CI = 112.2 to 128.0 beats/min) and a mean of 94.1 beats/min (range 55 to 121 beats/min, 95% CI = 88.4 to 99.7 beats/min) at 1 minute after ECD exposure. Sinus rhythm was clearly demonstrated in 21 (61.7%) subjects during ECD exposure (mean HR 121.4 beats/min; range 75 to 158 beats/min, 95% CI = 111.5 to 131.4). Sinus rhythm was not clearly demonstrated in 12 subjects due to movement artifact (mean HR 117.8 beats/min, range 70 to 152 beats/min, 95% CI = 102.8 to 132.8 beats/min). Conclusions: A 10-second ECD exposure in an ideal cardiac axis application did not demonstrate concerning tachyarrhythmias using human models. The swine model may have limitations when evaluating ECD technology.
- Conducted electrical weapon
- Electronic control device