Effects of CEWs on Respiration
Conducted electrical weapons (CEWs) induce neuromuscular incapacitation and pain by the application of low-current electrical discharge with special waveforms. The electrical current is delivered by tethered, gas-propelled probes in the most utilized weapons and stimulates both afferent sensory neurons causing pain and efferent motor neurons causing involuntary regional skeletal muscle contractions. There is controversy in the lay press and the medical literature regarding the use of these weapons and the sudden in-custody death phenomenon. There is speculation that the muscle contractions induced by the electrical current may impair breathing leading to hypoxemia (low oxygen content on the blood) and hypercarbia (high carbon dioxide content in the blood). In this chapter, the current medical literature about the effects of these weapons on respiration will be reviewed.
KeywordsPhrenic Nerve Alveolar Pressure Scalene Muscle Physiologic Dead Space Alveolar Dead Space
- 1.Levitsky M. Pulmonary Physiology. 6th Edition, McGraw-Hill, 2003.Google Scholar
- 2.Cellular Respiration. (http://faculty.clintoncc.suny.edu/faculty/Michael.Gregory/files/Bio%20101/Bio%20101%20Lectures/Cellular%20Respiration/cellular.htm, accessed June 7, 2007).
- 3.Elefteriades JA, Quin JA, Hogan JF, et al., Long-term follow-up of pacing of the conditioned diaphragm in quadriplegia, PACE: 25 (6), June 2002.Google Scholar
- 4.Meyers B. and Kozower B. Paralyzed diaphragm in ACS Surgery: Principles and Practice, 2005 (http://www.acssurgery.com/acs/chapters/ch0403.htm, accessed 4/15/07).
- 6.Le J, Gwak M. and Yang M. A new method of internal jugular vein catheterization using the cricoid cartilage and the external jugular vein as a landmark. Am J Emerg Med, 2006; 24(6).Google Scholar
- 12.Dawes D, Ho J, et al. 15-second conducted electrical weapon application does not impair basic respiratory parameters, venous blood gases, or blood chemistries and does not increase core body temperature. Ann Emerg Med (Supplement), 2007; 50(3): S132.Google Scholar
- 15.Ho J, Dawes D, et al. Prolonged TASER® use on exhausted humans does not worsen markers of acidosis. Am J Emerg Med 2009 in press.Google Scholar
- 17.Neal-Lomax, et al. v. Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, et al., United States District Court for the District of Nevada, Case Number 2-05-cv-1464.Google Scholar
- 18.Dawes D, Ho J, et al. Breathing parameters, venous blood gases, and serum chemistries with exposure to a new wireless projectile conducted electrical weapon in human volunteers. Ann Emerg Med (Supplement), 2007; 50(3): S133.Google Scholar
- 19.Danill Z., et al. An unusual cause of dyspnea in a 77-year-old man. Chest, 2004; 125(2).Google Scholar