Immediate cardiovascular effects of the Taser X26 conducted electrical weapon

W P Bozeman, D G Barnes, J E Winslow, J C Johnson, C H Phillips, R Alson
Emergency Medicine Journal: EMJ 2009, 26 (8): 567-70

STUDY OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the immediate cardiac and cardiovascular effects of Taser X26 conducted electrical weapon (CEW) exposure in human volunteers, including heart rhythm, rate and blood pressure.

METHODS: Volunteer police officers participating in CEW training and testing each underwent a 5, 3 and 1 s exposure to the Taser X26 CEW. Continuous electrocardiogram (ECG) monitoring was performed before, during and after each exposure. Blood pressures were measured at rest before and within 1 minute after each exposure. Paired sample t-test analysis and confidence interval calculations were performed.

RESULTS: 84 Taser exposures were monitored among 28 subjects (24 men, four women) with an average age of 34 years (range 24-46, SD 5.6). No cardiac dysrhythmias or aberrantly conducted beats were seen. Mean heart rate increased by 10.9 beats per minute (bpm) (95% CI 8.2 to 13.7) from 121.7 to 132.6 (p<0.001). The QRS and QTc cardiac intervals did not change significantly. Mean blood pressure increased from 138.6/82.8 mm Hg at rest to 145.8/85.6 mm Hg after the standard 5-s CEW discharge.

CONCLUSION: CEW exposure produced no detectable dysrhythmias and a statistically significant increase in heart rate. Overall, Taser CEW exposure appears to be safe and well tolerated from a cardiovascular standpoint in this population. This study increases the cumulative human subject experience of CEW exposure with continuous ECG monitoring and includes 28 full 5-s exposures.

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