Institute for the Prevention of In-Custody Deaths
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D. M. Dawes1; J. Ho2; M. Johnson3; J. Miner2
1. Lompoc District Hospital, Lompoc, CA, USA.
2. Hennepin County Medical Center, Minneapolis, MN, USA.
3. TASER International, Scottsdale, AZ, USA.

Presented at Fourth Mediterranean Emergency Medicine Congress (MEMC IV), Sorento, Italy
ID# W2.102 - Location: Poster Hall (Hilton Sorrento Palace)
Time of Presentation: September 19, 2007 - 2:00 PM
Category: Other

INTRODUCTION: The authors previously reported a study in which it was demonstrated that a 15-second exposure from the TASER X26 conducted electrical weapon (CEW) did not significantly impair several respiratory parameters including respiratory rate, tidal volume, PETCO2, and the PETO2. A major limitation of the study was that end-tidal gases were used as surrogate markers for blood pH. In addition, in that study, no chemistries were collected. In this brief report, the authors report on a brief follow-up study which collected this data.

METHODS: The methodology of the respiratory data collection was previously reported. As with the previous study, the weapon was an off-the-line, field deployable device with the only modification being the programming to allow for the 15-second discharge, instead of the 5-second discharge in field deployed weapons. In this study, venipuncture was obtained immediately preceding the experimental set-up, and then immediately after the exposure to the CEW. Venous samples were run on the iSTAT to obtain pH, PCO2, PO2, HCO3, Lactate, Na, and K.

RESULTS: Eighteen (18) subjects were enrolled in the study. The results of the respiratory data showed no significant changes before, during, or after the exposure except an increase in respiratory rate during the exposure. The blood chemistries showed a statistically significant decrease in potassium (-0.23), pCO2 (-5.69), HCO3 (-3.4), a statistically significant increase in pO2 (10.8) and lactate (1.8), and no significant change in pH (0.0009) or sodium (0.07) post-exposure.

CONCLUSIONS: As with the previous study, this study suggests that exposure to a CEW does not significantly impair respiration. As in the previous study, pCO2 decreased and pO2 increased as a result of the exposure. There was no change in blood pH. While this study is small, it adds to the growing body of literature that is demonstrating that these weapons have a favorable risk-benefit ratio and are appropriate additions to the use of force continua of police agencies.

  Pre-exposure Exposure Post-exposure
RR 14.9 30.2 16.9
VT 2.3 3.9 2.5
VE 20.7 24.0 24.3
PETCO2 38.2 28.3 33.6
PETO2 87.2 96.2 88.5
pH     change = 0.0009
PCO2     change = -5.69
PO2     change = 10.8
HCO3     change = -3.4
Lactate     change = 1.8
Na     change = 0.07
K     change = -0.23

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