[Lightning injuries--a mixture of electrical, thermal and multiple trauma]

Lakartidningen. 2004 Jul 8;101(28-29):2328-31.
[Article in Swedish]


There are several misconceptions even among hospital personnel regarding damages and injuries caused by lightning. Few health care providers have experience from lightning injuries as they are rare and different (DC) from the more common high-voltage (AC) injuries. Furthermore, fatalities are uncommon. Burns do occur but are usually minor. Most lightning injuries occur in the summer season during outdoor leisure activities and in the vicinity of a tree or other large structures. In Sweden, on average, approximately seventeen persons per year are hospitalised and 0.2-0.8 persons per million inhabitants and year die due to lightning injuries. The primary treatment follows the general guidelines for other trauma, electrical, and burn injuries, i.e. as is described in the standardised ATLS, ABLS, or A-HLR programmes. However, there are some minor points that are different and may be stressed for a favourable outcome. In this paper these are addressed together with the epidemiology, effects and treatment of lightning injuries that are specific for Sweden. Unfortunately, little is known, apart from what is described in smaller case series, of the long time sequelae experienced by this patient population and further research is therefore particularly warranted in this respect.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Lightning Injuries* / diagnosis
  • Lightning Injuries* / epidemiology
  • Lightning Injuries* / therapy
  • Prognosis