Cardiac monitoring of human subjects exposed to the taser

J Emerg Med. 2007 Aug;33(2):113-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2007.02.018. Epub 2007 Jun 13.


The Taser (TASER International, Scottsdale, AZ) is a high-voltage, low-amperage device used by many law enforcement agencies. Our objective in this study was to evaluate for rhythm changes utilizing cardiac monitoring during deployment of the Taser on volunteers. A prospective, observational study evaluated law enforcement personnel who had continuous electrocardiographic monitoring immediately before, during, and after having a voluntary exposure to the Taser X-26. Changes in cardiac rate, rhythm, ectopy, morphology, and conduction intervals were measured. A total of 105 subjects were evaluated. The mean shock duration was 3.0 s (range 0.9-5 s). Mean heart rate increased 15 beats/min (95% CI 12.6-18.3), from 122 beats/min before shock to 137 beats/min immediately after shock. One subject had a single premature ventricular contraction both before and after the shock, but no other subject developed ectopy or dysrhythmia. Poor inter-rater agreement prevented determination of the overall effect of shock on conduction intervals. However, several interpretable tracings demonstrated change in QT duration-either shortening or prolongation after shock. Human subjects exposed to a brief shock from the Taser developed significant increases in heart rate, but there were no cardiac dysrhythmias or morphologic changes. Alterations in the QT interval were observed in some subjects but their true incidence and clinical significance are unknown.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / etiology*
  • Electric Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Electrocardiography
  • Heart Rate*
  • Humans
  • Law Enforcement
  • Prospective Studies