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Cardiovascular Evaluation of Electronic Control Device Exposure in Law Enforcement Trainees: A Multisite Study

VanMeenen, Kirsten M. PhD; Cherniack, Neil S. MD; Bergen, Michael T. MS; Gleason, Lisa A. MD; Teichman, Ronald MD; Servatius, Richard J. PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: February 2010 - Volume 52 - Issue 2 - p 197-201
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3181cc58ba
Original Articles

Objective: Occupational health risk with regard to training exercises is a relatively under studied domain for law enforcement officers. One potential health risk is exposure to electronic control devices (ECDs).

Methods: Seven different training facilities in six states participated. Law enforcement trainees (N = 118) were exposed to Taser International's (Scottsdale, AZ) X26® for up to 5 seconds.

Results: There was no evidence of cardiac or skeletal muscle breakdown. Exposure did not adversely affect electrocardiogram (ECG) morphology obtained 24 hours after exposure in 99 trainees. For two trainees with preexisting ECG abnormalities, ECG morphology differed in the post-ECD samples.

Conclusions: The results from this large, multisite study suggest that, for most trainees, ECD exposure does not represent a significant health risk. Further investigation is warranted for cardiac vulnerability and potential interactions with ECD exposure.

From the Stress and Motivated Behavior Institute (Dr VanMeenen, Dr Cherniack, Mr Bergen, Dr Servatius), Departments of Neurology and Neurosciences (Dr VanMeenen, Mr Bergen, Dr Servatius), Medicine (Dr Cherniack), University of Medicine and Dentistry, New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ; Department of Cardiology (Dr Gleason), Navy Medical Center San Diego, San Diego, Calif; and War-Related Illness and Injury Study Center (Dr Teichman), VA New Jersey Health Care System, Lyons, NJ.

At the time this article was published, Neil S. Cherniack was deceased.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Navy, Department of Defense, or the United States Government.

Address correspondence to: Kirsten M. VanMeenen, PhD, Department of Neurology and Neurosciences, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, New Jersey Medical School, Medical Science Building H506, 185 South Orange Avenue, Newark, NJ 07101-1709; E-mail: vanmeekm@umdnj.edu.

©2010The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine