Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Evidence That Stun Guns May Stimulate The Heart

Date:
May 3, 2008
Source:
Canadian Medical Association Journal
Summary:
On the eve of the British Columbia inquiry into the death of Robert Dziekanski, a review of scientific data finds that in some cases, stun guns may stimulate the heart in experimental models. This evidence is contrary to current views that stun guns only affect skeletal muscles.

On the eve of the British Columbia inquiry into the death of Robert Dziekanski, a review of scientific data in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) finds that in some cases, stun guns may stimulate the heart in experimental models. This evidence is contrary to current views that stun guns only affect skeletal muscles.

"The frequency and the shape of the pulses generated by stun guns are designed to incapacitate the target by electrically overwhelming his or her control of these muscles," state Dr. K. Nanthakumar and colleagues. "In principle, these pulses are designed to act only on skeletal muscles and to not affect internal organs such as the heart." The evidence that stun guns do not stimulate the heart is based on "...theoretical studies [that] suggest that stun guns cannot deliver the amount of energy required to stimulate the heart or cause ventricular fibrillation."

Dr. Nanthakumar and collegues point out that most theoretical and some experimental studies reveal that cardiac stimulation does not occur with stun gun discharges. However, experimental studies on pigs by 3 independent groups of investigators found that "a stun gun discharge can stimulate the heart" depending on the location of the stun gun barbs. Barbs that are located such that they form a vector across the heart have greater effect than those focused on the abdomen. In one study, swine blood pressure was abruptly lost after discharge of a stun gun, and another study "reported the deaths of 2 animals caused by ventricular fibrillation immediately after the stun gun discharge....This suggests that sufficient current density was produced by the stun gun to stimulate the heart, which according to theory should not and could not occur."

The researchers caution against applying data from pigs to humans, although "most of the basic mechanistic concepts in cardiac fibrillation and defibrillation are derived from animal studies, not humans."

Recently, there have been several deaths after the use of stun guns, including Robert Dziekanski in Richmond, British Columbia, a Montrιal, Quebec man and 24 year-old Chicago, Illionois resident, Kevin Piskura. More than 300 deaths following stun gun use have been documented, 20 of them in Canada.

Regarding arrhythmias long after the discharge of the stun gun, Dr. Nanthakumar, Dr. Paul Dorian and colleagues conclude "...there is no conclusive evidence to show whether stun gun stimulation (under certain electrophysical conditions) can result in cardiac arrhythmias late after stun gun discharge. With regards to deleterious effects on the heart during the discharge they state "In our view, it is inappropriate to conclude that stun gun discharges cannot lead to adverse cardiac consequences in all real world settings."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Canadian Medical Association Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Canadian Medical Association Journal. "Evidence That Stun Guns May Stimulate The Heart." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 May 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080502154254.htm>.
Canadian Medical Association Journal. (2008, May 3). Evidence That Stun Guns May Stimulate The Heart. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080502154254.htm
Canadian Medical Association Journal. "Evidence That Stun Guns May Stimulate The Heart." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080502154254.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) — Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) — Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Newsy (July 30, 2014) — The Peace Corps is one of several U.S.-based organizations to pull workers out of West Africa because of the Ebola outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Newsy (July 30, 2014) — Health officials say 2,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S. due to weather, but it's excessive heat and cold that claim the most lives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:  

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile iPhone Android Web
      Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins