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A three year prospective audit of 212 presentations to the emergency department after electrical injury with a management protocol
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  1. N Blackwell,
  2. J Hayllar
  1. Mount Isa Base Hospital, PO Box 27, Mount Isa, Queensland 4825, Australia
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Nikki Blackwell;
 nikkiblackwell{at}health.qld.gov.au

Abstract

Significant numbers of presentations to the emergency department were found to relate to low voltage electrical injury, for which there was no widely accepted management protocol. It was decided to examine the outcome of patients after low voltage electrical injury with particular reference to electrocardiogram (ECG) changes and to evaluate a protocol for managing these injuries in order to optimise the management of patients after electrical injury. A prospective observational study was done over three years of 212 consecutive presentations to the emergency department of Mount Isa Base Hospital with a four year follow up after implementation of the revised protocol. In 4% of patients, early transient conduction abnormalities were seen after low voltage electrical injury. Admissions for cardiac monitoring were reduced dramatically with no resultant ill effects. Asymptomatic patients with a normal ECG on presentation do not need ECG monitoring after low voltage electrical injury. Patients with significant symptoms or ECG changes should be admitted for monitoring and observation. In view of the high proportion of workplace related injuries occupational health measures such as “triple gloving” should be mandatory for high risk groups.

  • electrical injury
  • ECG changes
  • QT prolongation
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