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Keywords:

  • forensic science;
  • forensic pathophysiology;
  • conducted energy weapon;
  • electronic control device;
  • TASER;
  • electro-muscular disruption;
  • hematocrit;
  • animal model;
  • swine

Abstract:  Conducted energy weapons (CEWs) are used by law enforcement personnel to incapacitate individuals quickly and effectively, without intending to cause lethality. CEWs have been deployed for relatively long or repeated exposures in some cases. In laboratory animal models, central venous hematocrit has increased significantly after CEW exposure. Even limited applications (e.g., three 5-sec applications) resulted in statistically significant increases in hematocrit. Preexposure hematocrit was significantly higher in nonsurvivors versus survivors after more extreme CEW applications. The purpose of this technical note is to address specific questions that may be generated when examining these results. Comparisons among results of CEW applications, other electrical muscle stimulation, and exercise/voluntary muscle contraction are included. The anesthetized swine appears to be an acceptable animal model for studying changes in hematocrit and associated red blood cell changes. Potential detrimental effects of increased hematocrit, and considerations during law enforcement use, are discussed.