Effects of a TASER® conducted energy weapon on the circulating red-blood-cell population and other factors in Sus scrofa

James R Jauchem, Joshua A Bernhard, Cesario Z Cerna, Tiffany Y Lim, Ronald L Seaman, Melissa Tarango
Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology 2013, 9 (3): 308-20
In previous studies hematocrit has been consistently increased in an anesthetized animal model after exposures to TASER(®) conducted energy weapons (CEWs). In the present study we analyzed changes in blood cell counts and red blood cell membrane proteins following two 30-s applications of a TASER C2 device (which is designed for civilian use). Hematocrit increased significantly from 33.2 ± 2.4 (mean ± SD) to 42.8 ± 4.6 % immediately after CEW exposure of eleven pigs (Sus scrofa). Red blood cell count increased significantly from 6.10 ± 0.55 × 10(12)/L to 7.45 ± 0.94 × 10(12)/L, and mean corpuscular volume increased significantly from 54.5 ± 2.4 fl to 57.8 ± 2.6 fl. Mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration decreased significantly from 20.5 ± 0.7 to 18.5 ± 0.6 mM. Thirty protein spots (from two-dimensional sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, selected for detailed comparison) exhibited greater densities 30-min post-exposure compared with pre-exposure values. A greater number of echinocytes were observed following CEW exposure. On the basis of these results it appears that, during the strong muscle contractions produced by TASER CEWs, a specific population of red blood cells (RBCs) may be released from the spleen or other reservoirs within the body. The total time of CEW exposure in the present study was relatively long compared with exposures in common law-enforcement scenarios. Despite statistically significant changes in red blood cell counts (and other measures directly related to RBCs), the alterations were short-lived. The transient nature of the changes would be likely to counteract any potentially detrimental effects.


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