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Cardiac manifestations following electrocution in children

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 August 2008

Alon Haim*
Department of Cardiology, Soroka University Medical Center, Beer-Sheva, Israel
Nili Zucker
Department of Cardiology, Soroka University Medical Center, Beer-Sheva, Israel
Aviva Levitas
Department of Cardiology, Soroka University Medical Center, Beer-Sheva, Israel
Shaul Sofer
Department of Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Soroka University Medical Center, Beer-Sheva, Israel
Amos Katz
Department of Cardiology Division, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel
Eli Zalzstein
Department of Cardiology Division, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel
Correspondence to: Alon Haim MD, Pediatric Cardiology Unit, Soroka University Medical Center, Beer-Sheva, Israel. Tel: 972 8 640 3050; Fax: 972 8 640 0665; E-mail:



Electrical injury can result in a variety of cardiac abnormalities. We evaluate the cardiac effects in patients injured by electric shock and treated in our medical centre.


We reviewed retrospectively the findings in 52 children, aged from 7 months to 17 years, with a mean age of 10.1 ± 5.1 years, all evaluated and treated for accidental electric shock from January, 1992, through July, 2004. Relevant data regarding clinical presentation, electrocardiogram recording and cardiac enzymes was compiled. We also evaluated the echocardiographic findings, clinical course, treatment, and outcome.


Syncope had been the presenting symptom in 17 children (33%), asystole in 1 patient, and ventricular fibrillation or tachycardia in 2 patients. Characteristic changes of acute ischaemia of the anterior wall on the basis of changes in the ST segments were noted in 2 patients. Total creatine phosphokinase was measured in 33 children (63%), and was elevated in 20. Creatine phosphokinase-MB was measured in 11 patients, and was abnormal in six (54%). Troponin was measured in three children, and was significantly high in one (33%). Cardiopulmonary resuscitation and mechanical ventilation for a significant period was necessary in 5 patients, of whom 4 (80%) survived. None of the survivors was left with any cardiac disability following the acute event.


Significant cardiac damage and complications are rare in children and young adults who survive incidental electrocution. Most of the cardiac events are observed during the acute phase and immediately subsequent to electrocution. No delayed complications are anticipated.

Original Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2008

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