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Part of the book series: IFMBE Proceedings ((IFMBE,volume 14))

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Tasers are battery powered electrical devices used by law enforcement personnel to temporarily incapacitate a suspect. This study is a portion of a larger study to determine the probability of a Taser (X26 and M26) causing ventricular fibrillation (VF) in humans. We determined the distance between a Taser dart and the ventricle (dart-to-heart distance) necessary to trigger VF in an in-vivo porcine model, using 10 anesthetized pigs. All experiments were approved by the appropriate IUCUC and adhere to all applicable laws and standards of the NIH and USDA as well as the policies of the APS. To more accurately represent the dart-to-heart distances found in a human, we reflected the skin, subcutaneous fat and muscle over the sternum and placed a thoracic dart into the third intercostal space over the right ventricle. Current flowed to a second dart 15 to 54 cm away on the abdomen. We determined that the distance between the darts makes no significant difference in the current. We directly measured the dart-to-heart distance and confirmed it post mortem. The dart-to-heart distance that causes VF is 17 mm ±6.48 (SD) for the first VF event and 13.7 mm ±6.79 (SD) for the average of the successive VF events. We will combine these data with echocardiographic human anatomic data, police-provided dart landing distribution data, and a finite element method (FEM) model of current density in the human torso to yield a probability of a Taser causing VF in a human.

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Correspondence to J G Webster .

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R. Magjarevic J. H. Nagel

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© 2007 International Federation for Medical and Biological Engineering

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Webster, J.G. et al. (2007). Can Tasers® directly cause ventricular fibrillation?. In: Magjarevic, R., Nagel, J.H. (eds) World Congress on Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering 2006. IFMBE Proceedings, vol 14. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

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  • Publisher Name: Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-540-36839-7

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-540-36841-0

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