Clonus: an unusual delayed neurological complication in electrical burn injury

Burns. 2001 Sep;27(6):647-51. doi: 10.1016/s0305-4179(00)00160-1.


Patients surviving high-voltage electrical injury may have early and delayed sequelae. The most apparent neurological complications are known to be cerebral injury, spinal cord lesions, peripheral-nerve injuries and motor neuropathies. In this study, clonus, which is an unusual late neurological sequela in an electrical burn patient and presented as series of rhythmic, monophasic contractions and relaxations of a group of muscles, is presented. Possible mechanisms of this unusual late sequela and the clinical outcome of the patient are discussed. Ankle and patellar clonus was observed in 4 patients and uvular clonus in 1 patient. Clonus started 3 weeks following the injury in our patients and disappeared over a period of 1 yr in 2 patients, and did not disappear in the remaining 2 patients. In the current literature, this is the first report, which presents an unusual sequela following electrical injury. Clonus should also be considered a specific type of neurological sequela following high- or super-voltage electric injury. This may help to inform the patients in the postinjury period and to improve the efficacy of the rehabilitation of the victims.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Burns, Electric / complications*
  • Burns, Electric / pathology
  • Burns, Electric / surgery
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Myoclonus / etiology*
  • Reflex, Abnormal
  • Time Factors