Electrical Burns in the ED

Author: Jonathan Baird / Editor: Adrian Boyle / Reviewer: Kathryn Blakcmore, Joshua Davison / Code: A7 / Published: 20/10/2022

This session covers the assessment and management of patients presenting to an emergency department (ED) with electrical injuries.

After completing this session you will be able to:

  • Summarise the epidemiological features of electrical injury
  • Summarise the basic physics and pathophysiology of electrical injuries
  • Summarise the clinical presentation of electrical injuries
  • Summarise the management of electrical injuries
  • Summarise the presentation and management of lightning strike injury


  1. Cawley JC, Homce GT. Occupational electrical injuries in the United States, 1992-1998, and recommendations for safety research. J Safety Res. 2003;34(3):241-8.
  2. Health and Safety Executive. Dangerous occurrences. RIDDOR. 2001/02-2005/06.
  3. Wright RK, Davis JH. The investigation of electrical deaths: a report of 220 fatalities. J Forensic Sci. 1980 Jul;25(3):514-21.
  4. Spies C, Trohman RG. Narrative review: Electrocution and life-threatening electrical injuries. Ann Intern Med. 2006 Oct 3;145(7):531-7.
  5. Electrocution still leads in deaths at work. Occup Environ Med. 2003 Apr;60(4):300.
  6. Runyan CW, Dal Santo J, et al. Work hazards and workplace safety violations experienced by adolescent construction workers. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2006 Jul;160(7):721-7.
  7. Nguyen BH, MacKay M, et al. Epidemiology of electrical and lightning related deaths and injuries among Canadian children and youth. Inj Prev. 2004 Apr;10(2):122-4.
  8. Davis P, Kenny G. Basic Physics and Measurement in Anaesthesia. 5th Edition. Butterworth-Heinemann 2005.
  9. Emergency Medicine: A comprehensive study guide. 6th Edition. McGraw-Hill Companies Ltd, 2004.
  10. Lammertse DP. Neurorehabilitation of spinal cord injuries following lightning and electrical trauma. NeuroRehabilitation. 2005;20(1):9-14.
  11. Rautji R, Rudra A, Behera C, Dogra TD. Electrocution in South Delhi: a retrospective study. Med Sci Law. 2003 Oct;43(4):350-2.
  12. Blackwell N, Hayllar J. A three year prospective audit of 212 presentations to the emergency department after electrical injury with a management protocol. Postgrad Med J. 2002 May;78(919):283-5.
  13. Bailey B, Gaudreault P, Thivierge RL. Cardiac monitoring of high-risk patients after an electrical injury: a prospective multicentre study. Emerg Med J. 2007 May;24(5):348-52.
  14. Elson DM, Deaths and injuries caused by lightning in the United Kingdom. Atmospheric Research. 2001; 56: 325-334.

Leave a Reply