Spinal cord injuries following electrical accidents

Paraplegia. 1986 Jun;24(3):159-66. doi: 10.1038/sc.1986.21.


Injuries from high tension electrical current result in approximately 1000 deaths per year and account for 3% of all major thermal injuries in the United States. Even though the complications from electrical injury can affect almost every organ system in the body, a neurological complication is perhaps the most common non-lethal one. 116 cases of electrical accidents among 1206 burn patients admitted to Kansas University Medical Center were reviewed. There were 5 cases of spinal cord injury which were detected from a few days up to four weeks from the injury. All had incomplete lesions. Two of them had quadriparesis, and 3 paraparesis. Clinical manifestations included motor and sensory involvement, predominantly motor. Possible mechanisms for the spinal cord damage include heating effect, electrogenic changes and vascular damage. Spinal cord injury following an electrical accident is more frequently encountered than is generally recognized.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Accidents*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Electric Injuries / complications*
  • Electric Injuries / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / etiology*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / pathology