August 20-24, 2008
  Vancouver, British Columbia

30th IEEE EMBS Annual International Conference


EMBC'08 Paper Abstract


Paper SuAT10.3

Panescu, Dorin (St. Jude Medical), Kroll, Mark (University of Minnesota), Stratbucker, Robert (Stratbucker & Associates)

Theoretical Possibility of Ventricular Fibrillation During Use of TASER Neuromuscular Incapacitation Devices

Scheduled for presentation during the Oral Session "Pacemakers, Defibrillators and Stimulation" (SuAT10), Sunday, August 24, 2008, 09:30−09:45, Room 18

30th Annual International IEEE EMBS Conference, August 20-24, 2008, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

This information is tentative and subject to change. Compiled on January 18, 2022

Keywords Defibrillators, Muscular stimulation, Pacemakers, defibrillators


Introduction: TASER devices deliver electrical pulses that temporarily incapacitate suspects. This study analyzes the theoretical possibility of ventricular fibrillation (VF) induction by TASER currents. Methods and Results: Using finite element models (FEM), the results found that the skin, fat and anisotropic skeletal muscle layers attenuated a large portion of TASER currents, allowing just a fractional amount to penetrate transversally into deeper layers of tissue. The TASER current density reached 91 mA/cm2, the threshold required to induce VF, at less than 14.7 mm away from the skin surface. This distance is significantly lower than the average skin-heart distance of 35 mm, as measured in subjects with a body-mass index (BMI) matched to that of typical in-custody suspects. The theoretical probability of inducing VF is significantly lower than 0.0000008, or 1:1,270,000. By comparison, the standard for basic safety and essential performance of medical electrical equipment, EN 60601-1, accepts as satisfactory a VF induction probability of 0.002, or 1:500. Conclusion: The results indicated that TASER devices, while not risk free, have a very low cardiac risk profile when used for suspect temporary incapacitation.



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