What is the pathophysiology of electrical injuries from electrical arcs?

Updated: Mar 09, 2020
  • Author: Tracy A Cushing, MD, MPH, FACEP, FAWM; Chief Editor: Joe Alcock, MD, MS  more...
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Answer

Current sparks are formed between objects of different electric potential that are not in direct contact with each other, most often a highly charged source and a ground. The temperature of an electrical arc can reach 2500-5000o C, resulting in deep thermal burns where it contacts the skin. These are high-voltage injuries that may cause both thermal and flame burns in addition to injury from direct current along the arc pathway.


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