Have you ever wondered how a person who was once shocked gets up without any injuries? A lot of television shows have scenes where attackers are shocked using a stun gun and made to fall on the ground seizing! In fact, the wet-your-pants complication is a renowned humor. With jokes apart – high voltage stun guns are powerful tools to combat aggressive, violent people. So, can stun guns and devices like the TASER® cause cardiac arrests? This is an arguable question raised by many people.
An article published in “Circulation” on April 20, 2012 declares that stun guns can be dangerous and can cause cardiac arrest. Dr. Doughlas Ripes says, “ECD stimulation can trigger cardiac arrest by ventricular fibrillation or ventricular tachycardia. Asystole develops with unattended ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia.” This article gives a clear outline on how ECDs can cause abnormal cardiac rhythms. If you want to understand how ECDs cause heart problems and eventual death, read on!
The heart is made of two pumps, namely the electrical and mechanical one. Mechanical movement happens in the heart due to electrical shocks. The electrical part can cause the muscle tissues to contract and expand. The Sino atrial node alias SA node is responsible for producing electrical impulse. This impulse is generated by SA node cells that exchange electrolytes. These electrolytes differ with respect to charge. Excess positive and negative charges are separated by SA node cell membranes. These charges build up and discharge down the heart muscle after some time. Electrolytes responsible for this movement involve calcium, potassium and sodium. Potassium is found inside the SA node cells; whereas calcium and sodium are present outside. Pressure helps in exchanging sodium and potassium between the cell membranes. When the amount of charge in the body reaches a specific point, calcium is channeled out. A sudden increase in charge is sufficient to push excess discharge down the heart muscle. This is why the stun gun can cause cardiac arrest.
If a person’s heart muscle is contracted by the flow of excess charge, it is believed to be “captured”. Science has proved that muscles can be captured artificially by sending more electricity through the body. In fact, this is used as a treatment against many health issues. Medical science calls these treatments as the “Edison’s Medicine”. Abnormal heart rhythm is cured with the help of Edison’s Medicine.
Drawbacks of the Medical Treatment
There are many disadvantages in using electricity as a part of medical treatments. After a heavy flow of charge, the heart may not produce a normal pulse. So a heart muscle that is captured may not have sufficient amounts of electrolyte exchange after the treatment. Another interesting problem is that excess charge can force the person to experience irregular VT and VF rhythms.
The Ultimate Bottom Line
Law enforcement officials are advised to use non-lethal shocking devices on themselves before they use it on commoners or attackers. Moreover, Dr. Zipes has been able to show that some people are likely to experience cardiac problems with high voltage and low amperage than others.