What is included in prehospital care for electrical injuries?

Updated: Mar 09, 2020
  • Author: Tracy A Cushing, MD, MPH, FACEP, FAWM; Chief Editor: Joe Alcock, MD, MS  more...
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First, rescuers should practice awareness of scene safety and be sure there is no imminent threat to bystanders or responders in attempting to remove the victim from the electrical source. For high-voltage incidents, the source voltage should be turned off before rescue workers enter the scene.

After ensuring scene safety, rescuers should approach victims of electrical injuries as both trauma and cardiac patients. Patients may need basic or advanced cardiac life support and should undergo spinal immobilization as indicated by the mechanism of injury.

Given that injuries may be limited to a ventricular arrhythmia or respiratory muscle paralysis, aggressive and prolonged CPR should be initiated in the field for all electrical injury victims, as they are likely to be younger with fewer comorbid conditions and have better chances of survival after prolonged CPR.

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