Behavioral consequences of lightning and electrical injury

Jacksonville College, Jacksonville, Florida, United States
Seminars in Neurology (Impact Factor: 1.78). 10/1995; 15(3):279-85. DOI: 10.1055/s-2008-1041033
Source: PubMed
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    • "Misconceptions such as ''If you're not killed by lighting, you'll be OK,'' and ''If there are no outward signs of lightning injury, the damage can't be serious'' [9] can lead to unnecessary, tragic consequences. There is an increasing body of evidence demonstrating a myriad of long-term debilitating consequences such as peripheral neuropathy, chronic pain syndromes, and neuropsychological symptoms caused by nonfatal lightning strikes [14] [15] [16]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Lightning is persistently one of the leading causes of death caused by environmental or natural disaster. To understand the pathophysiology and treatment of lightning injuries one must first discount the innumerable myths, superstitions, and misconceptions surrounding lightning. The fundamental difference between high voltage electrical injury and lightning is the duration of exposure to current. Reverse triage should be instituted in lightning strike victims because victims in cardiopulmonary arrest might gain the greatest benefit from resuscitation efforts, although there is no good evidence suggesting that lightning strike victims might benefit from longer than usual resuscitation times. Many of the injuries suffered by lightning strike victims are unique to lightning, and long-term sequelae should be anticipated and addressed in the lightning victim.
    Emergency Medicine Clinics of North America 06/2004; 22(2):369-403. DOI:10.1016/j.emc.2004.02.002 · 0.85 Impact Factor
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    • "The web-based survey was designed in which respondents were posed questions about demographics; information about electrical contact; pre-existing conditions (population baseline); and symptoms present greater than 6 months post electrical contact. The list of symptoms and diagnoses utilized in the study were developed based on extensive review of the literature [4] [5] [6] [8] [9] and review of over 50 medical and neuropsychological electrical injury case files. Each symptom was categorized as either systemic, path localized, or neuropsychological. "
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    ABSTRACT: Diffuse electrical injury (DEI) is a rarely occurring class of electrical injury that can arise even after a low voltage contact. It is characterized by broad symptomatology which is often disproportionate to the magnitude of the contact. The occurrence rate of 65 symptoms, categorized by gender, was studied. Data was derived from a Web-based interactive survey of individuals who suffered low voltage (<1000 volts) contacts and were more than six months post incident. Statistically significant differences (based on a Chi Squared test) among gender were noted for unexplained moodiness and short-term memory loss. For the majority of symptoms, no significant difference between the groups was revealed (P<0.05). Results suggest that although male and female DEI patients present with a similar symptom profile, DEI may present with certain differences in men compared to women.
    Conference proceedings: ... Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Conference 01/2004; 7:4714-6. DOI:10.1109/IEMBS.2004.1404305
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    • "One patient related it as being like 'the office manager of my brain quit.' These deficits have a distinct pattern that has been well characterized with neurocognitive testing (Primeau et al. 1995; Pliskin et al. 1998; Heilbronner and Pliskin 1999). Some patients, usually after a few months, will develop an absence type of seizure activity where they stare off into space or may even be capable of doing automatic activity without remembering. "
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    ABSTRACT: Meteorologists and others interested in lightning have, in the past, concentrated their concerns on cataloging and preventing lightning fatalities. However, disability from lightning-strike injuries is a far greater problem. While lightning has been exceeded only by flash floods as a storm killer for the last thirty years, it causes fatal injury to only about 9-10% of those it strikes. While death is devastating, the family eventually can go on. Far more pervasive changes to the family may occur if the survivor is disabled. Survivors tend to be young, otherwise healthy, productive working people often with families to support. Many survivors are unable to return to work or to resume their previous lives necessitating many changes in the family structure, economic level, and dreams and plans for their future. The primary areas of disability involve neurocognitive functioning, which manifests itself as deficits in short-term memory, processing of new information, personality changes, easy fatigability, and decreased work capacity. Chronic pain syndromes, sleep difficulties, dizziness, and severe headaches are also often reported. Those who attempt to return to work often find they are unable to carry out their former functions and after a few weeks, when co?workers get weary of 'covering' for them, they either are put on disability (if they are lucky) or fired. Survivors often find themselves isolated because friends, family and physicians do not recognize their disability or feel they are 'faking'.
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