The need for cardiac monitoring after electrical injury

Med J Aust. 1991 Jun 3;154(11):765-6. doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.1991.tb121321.x.


Objective: A common clinical problem in hospital emergency departments in the patient who presents after receiving an electric shock from the 240 volt domestic supply and who is asymptomatic with a normal electrocardiogram. This paper examines the need to monitor these patients.

Design: The medical records of all patients with electrical injuries who were admitted to Westmead Hospital in a 10-year period were retrospectively studied, and the management policy for this type of problem was surveyed in 36 hospitals around Australia.

Results and conclusions: The 70 admissions in the retrospective study and the bulk of evidence in the literature support what appears to be the most common current policy in Australian emergency departments --that is, to discharge patients who have had 240 volt electric shock provided that they are asymptomatic and have a normal electrocardiogram.

MeSH terms

  • Electric Injuries / epidemiology
  • Electric Injuries / therapy*
  • Electrocardiography*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Humans
  • Monitoring, Physiologic
  • New South Wales / epidemiology
  • Patient Discharge
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors