Cardiac effects of varying pulse charge and polarity of TASER conducted electrical weapons

Mark W Kroll, Dorin Panescu, Matthew Carver, Ryan M Kroll, Andrew F Hinz
Conference Proceedings: Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society 2009, 2009: 3195-8
The TASER(R) CEW (Conducted Electrical Weapon) is rapidly replacing the club in the English-speaking world for assisting in the arrest of resistant subjects and is now used by the majority of law enforcement agencies in the USA, Canada, and the UK. Animal safety studies of the CEW have focused on the risk of VF. We sought to determine the difference in cardiac capture and VF risk between the approximately 102 +/- 8 microC of the ubiquitous X26 and a me-tered 72 microC charge from an experimental device. It is well established from the bidomain theory and experimental data that a pacing electrode will capture the heart with significantly lower charge when the electrode touching the cardiac tissue is a cathode However, experimental data show that there is no difference in the ability of the anode vs the cathode to induce VF. We sought to evaluate the effect of polarity changes on cardiac capture and the induction of VF. Small swine ( approximately 20.0 kg) were anesthetized and ventilated. The apex of the heart was located via echocar-diography and a CEW probe was fully inserted towards the apex. Echocardiography was used to monitor cardiac contractions to determine cardiac capture. Both the X26 and the 72 microC pulses were delivered at both polarities to test for cardiac capture. Higher charge pulses (375 microC) were then delivered with both polarities to test for VF risk. The 72 microC experimental unit was unable to cause cardiac capture even in small swine with fully inserted probes directly over the apex of the heart. We found no polarity effect in the risk of VF in small swine with larger charge ( approximately 5x) pulses.

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