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Repeated or long-duration TASER electronic control device exposures: acidemia and lack of respiration

James R Jauchem
Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology 2010, 6 (1): 46-53
19936976
Conducted energy weapons (CEWs), such as TASER devices, may be applied to subjects in repeated or long-duration modes. Such applications may result in more potentially harmful effects (as reflected in blood factor changes) than shorter exposures. In this review, results from a number of studies of repeated and long-duration CEW exposures in an animal model are examined. Additionally, a few limited investigations of shorter CEW applications to human subjects are considered. Specifically, in anesthetized swine, increased blood acidity (acidemia) and lack of effective respiration were found to be common during or immediately after CEW exposure. The acidemia could have been due to both metabolic and respiratory acidosis. A relatively rapid recovery toward baseline pH levels occurred. The lack of effective respiration has not been verified in experiments of CEW applications to human subjects; however, in some incidents of human deaths after CEW exposures subjects have been reported to stop breathing immediately after the exposure. It is not known if all human subjects exposed to CEW applications in the field (often "on drugs" or "in excited delirium") would be able to maintain adequate breathing. Since a limited number of short CEW applications would be less likely to cause adverse effects, however, CEWs can still be a valuable tool for law enforcement activities.

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