Electrical injuries in pediatric patients are uncommon but can be life-threatening and require efficient and effective identification and management. Injury severity is based on the characteristics of the electricity, the duration of contact with the electrical source, and the current’s pathway through the body.
Our recent issue Pediatric Electrical Injuries in the Emergency Department: An Evidence-Based Review discusses the specific threats posed by high-voltage, low-voltage, and lightning injuries.
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Here are a few key points:
- Electrical exposures include low-voltage (<1000 V), high-voltage (>1000 V), and lightning injuries. Each pose different consequences as a result of varying current, voltage, and duration of contact time, so it is important to gather as much history as possible to help guide management.
- Consider an electrical source in patients found injured or unresponsive near a power source or open field, or if a suspicious injury is present such as an entry/exit burn, Lichtenberg figure, ruptured tympanic membrane, or oral commissure burn.
- Patients may have injuries from the electrical source or secondary to the initial event that necessitate a full trauma evaluation and/or burn center referral.
Last Updated on January 25, 2023