Factors influencing the sequelae of high tension electrical injuries

Burns. 1998 Nov;24(7):649-53. doi: 10.1016/s0305-4179(98)00082-5.


The purpose of this study was to conduct a retrospective analysis of the clinical spectrum, treatment and morbidity of the patients who have suffered high tension electrical injuries with current passage through their body (59 patients). Voltage, localization and surgical treatment seem to be the main factors influencing the lesion and the morbidity. The following points were considered: (1) Is there any relation between known factors such as voltage and the localization of the points of contact with the incidence and the type of complications and sequelae? (2) Do the observations show that wound management and the excision of dead tissues is the most adequate? From factors studied in our patients (voltage, point of entry and pathway of current, associated multiple trauma or flame burns, surgical treatment) we have found that the voltage does not have any influence on the severity of the wound nor on the percentage of sequelae (cataracts, limb amputation, neurologic complications). The current pathway, as well as its points of entry, does not show any relation with the presence of renal failure, cardiac arrhythmia and cataracts. A clear relationship between the point of entry of the current and the appearance of neurologic injury with presence of paralysis and permanent regional anaesthesia at the same level was observed. The presence of associated burns was not related to any other complications or sequelae. For those patients whose length of contact has been shorter we find a lower rate of amputations despite having associated limb fractures. Fasciotomy incisions appear to confer benefit as this series shows that this procedure decreases the rate of limb amputations.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / epidemiology
  • Acute Kidney Injury / etiology*
  • Acute Kidney Injury / therapy
  • Adult
  • Amputation / statistics & numerical data
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / epidemiology
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / etiology*
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / therapy
  • Burns, Electric / complications*
  • Burns, Electric / epidemiology
  • Burns, Electric / therapy
  • Cataract / epidemiology
  • Cataract / etiology*
  • Cataract / therapy
  • Female
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / epidemiology
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / etiology*
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / surgery
  • Nervous System Diseases / epidemiology
  • Nervous System Diseases / etiology*
  • Nervous System Diseases / therapy
  • Renal Dialysis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Trauma Severity Indices
  • Treatment Outcome