Functioning and Effectiveness of Electronic Control Devices Such as the TASER® M- and X-Series: A Review of the Current Literature


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Sebastian Kunz, M.D.
Institute of Forensic and Legal Medicine
Paris-Lodron-University Salzburg
Ignaz-Harrer-Straβe 79
A-5020 Salzburg


Abstract:  Conducted electrical weapons (CEWs) such as the TASER® M- and X-series deliver short high-voltage, low-current energy pulses to temporarily paralyze a person by causing electrical interruption of the body’s normal energy pulses. Despite many scientific publications, which classify the health risks of an appropriate use of the TASER device as minor, there still is a continuous uncertainty about possible side effects with human application. Based on a literature search of the National Library of Medicine’s MEDLINE database’s PubMed system of current publications, the following article describes the mechanisms by which the device operates and discusses possible pathophysiological consequences. The majority of current human literature has not found evidence of clinical relevant pathophysiological effects during and after an exposure of professionally applied CEWs. However, to be able to exclude possible health risks, a medical checkup of people who have been exposed to CEWs is essential.