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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Physiologic effects of a new-generation conducted electrical weapon on human volunteers

Jeffrey D Ho, Donald M Dawes, Richard J Chang, Rebecca S Nelson, James R Miner
Journal of Emergency Medicine 2014, 46 (3): 428-35
24238599

BACKGROUND: Conducted electrical weapons (CEWs) are used by law enforcement to restrain or repel potentially violent persons. The TASER X2 CEW is a next-generation device with new technology, including new electrical waveform and output specifications. It has not previously been studied in humans.

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to evaluate the human physiologic effect of a new-generation CEW.

METHODS: This was a prospective, observational human study. Volunteers received a 10-s exposure via deployed probes from an X2 CEW in the abdomen and upper thigh. Measured data included vital signs; 12-lead electrocardiograms; and blood serum biomarkers before, immediately after, and 24 h post exposure. Biomarkers measured included pH, lactate, potassium, creatine kinase (CK), and troponin-I. Real-time spirometry and echocardiography were performed before, during, and after the exposure.

RESULTS: Ten volunteers completed the study. There were no important changes in vital signs or potassium. Median increase in lactate as a consequence of the exposure was 1.2 mg/dL (range 0.6-2.8 mg/dL). Median change in pH was -0.031 (range -0.011 to -0.067). No subject had a positive troponin. Median change in CK at 24 h was 313 ng/mL (range -40 to 3418 ng/mL). There was no evidence of respiratory impairment. Baseline median minute ventilation was 14.2 L/min, increased to 21.6 L/min intra-exposure (p = 0.05), and remained elevated at 21.6 L/min post exposure (p = 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS: There was no evidence of dangerous physiology found in the measured parameters. The physiologic effects of the X2 CEW are similar to older-generation CEWs. We encourage further study to validate these results.

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