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JOURNAL ARTICLE

A TASER conducted electrical weapon with cardiac biomonitoring capability: Proof of concept and initial human trial

Jason P Stopyra, Samuel I Ritter, Jennifer Beatty, James C Johnson, Douglas M Kleiner, James E Winslow, Alison R Gardner, William P Bozeman
Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine 2016, 43: 48-52
27448029

INTRODUCTION: Despite research demonstrating the overall safety of Conducted Electrical Weapons (CEWs), commonly known by the brand name TASER(®), concerns remain regarding cardiac safety. The addition of cardiac biomonitoring capability to a CEW could prove useful and even lifesaving in the rare event of a medical crisis by detecting and analyzing cardiac rhythms during the period immediately after CEW discharge.

OBJECTIVE: To combine an electrocardiogram (ECG) device with a CEW to detect and store ECG signals while still allowing the CEW to perform its primary function of delivering an incapacitating electrical discharge.

METHODS: This work was performed in three phases. In Phase 1 standard law enforcement issue CEW cartridges were modified to demonstrate transmission of ECG signals. In Phase 2, a miniaturized ECG recorder was combined with a standard issue CEW and tested. In Phase 3, a prototype CEW with on-board cardiac biomonitoring was tested on human volunteers to assess its ability to perform its primary function of electrical incapacitation.

RESULTS: Bench testing demonstrated that slightly modified CEW cartridge wires transmitted simulated ECG signals produced by an ECG rhythm generator and from a human volunteer. Ultimately, a modified CEW incorporating ECG monitoring successfully delivered incapacitating current to human volunteers and successfully recorded ECG signals from subcutaneous CEW probes after firing.

CONCLUSION: An ECG recording device was successfully incorporated into a standard issue CEW without impeding the functioning of the device. This serves as proof-of-concept that safety measures such as cardiac biomonitoring can be incorporated into CEWs and possibly other law enforcement devices.

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