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Wake Forest Baptist study suggests Tasers don't cause cardiac complications
Date:6/28/2012

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. June 28, 2012 Taser shots to the chest are no more dangerous than those delivered to other body locations, according to a new study by one of the country's leading experts on the devices.

William P. Bozeman, M.D., an associate professor of emergency medicine at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, and colleagues reviewed 1,201 cases of real-life Taser uses by law enforcement agencies but found none in which the devices could be linked to cardiac complications, even when the Taser probes landed on the upper chest area and may have delivered a shock across the heart.

Their findings are published online this month in the Journal of Emergency Medicine.

"While we know that the Taser is a very effective and remarkably safe weapon for law enforcement use, we also continue to have some concern about injuries that may be related to it," Bozeman said. "However, in this review, we found no cases where there was an apparent cardiac complication related to the Taser, even in the worst-case scenarios when the probes landed across the front of the chest and the heart may have been in the path of the electrical current produced by the device."

The team of researchers led by Bozeman reviewed cases of Taser use against criminal suspects by law enforcement officers from agencies across the country. Of the 1,201 cases reviewed, 178, or 22 percent, involved the device's probes landing on the suspect's chest and delivering an electrical charge that may have traveled across the heart area. The majority of the suspects in the reviewed cases were male (94 percent) and the mean age was 32. None of the suspects with Taser shots to the chest were found to have heart-related complications, and they did not have a higher injury rate than suspects with Taser shots elsewhere on the body.

Bozeman said it was important to conduct this research because concerns have been expressed that Taser activations across the front of
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Contact: Bonnie Davis
bdavis@wakehealth.edu
336-399-8274
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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