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Electrocution-Related Mortality: A Survey of 295 Deaths in Tehran, Iran Between 2002 and 2006

Sheikhazadi, Ardeshir MD*; Kiani, Mehrzad MD**; Ghadyani, Mohammad H. MD

The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology: March 2010 - Volume 31 - Issue 1 - p 42-45
doi: 10.1097/PAF.0b013e3181c213f6
Original Article

Background and Aim: Electrical burns are associated with significant morbidity and mortality, which are usually preventable with simple safety measures.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective study of non-lightening electrocution deaths in Tehran, Iran, between 2002 and 2006.

Results: Of 295 deaths, 285 investigated were accidental. The remnants were suicidal. The age range was 11 months to 75 years with a mean age of 28.99 ± 12.58 years. Two hundred seventy-nine victims (96.6%) were males. The upper extremity was the most frequently involved contact site in 185 deaths (66.3%). No electrical burn marks were present in 16 (5.4%) cases. Work-related accidents were responsible for 188 cases deaths (63.9%) and home accident for 85 cases deaths (28.8%). Deaths were caused most frequently by touching an electrical cable (95 cases, 32.2%). There was an increase in electrocution deaths in the summer (119 cases, 40.3%). One hundred seventy-nine cases (60.7%) were dead on the scene of death and 94 cases (31.9%) were dead on arrival at hospital. The unique findings of our study include 10 cases (3.4%) of suicidal electrocution and a high rate of work-related accidental electrocution among Afghan workers.

Conclusion: Death rates from electrocution among all medico-legal deaths were found to be lower in our study than in previous reports, most of them were work-related and preventable. Workers and their employers should be educated to avoid such accidents with safety measures.

From the *Department of Forensic Medicine, School of Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran; **Research Center of Medical Ethics & Medical Law, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran; and †Deputy of Research, Legal Medicine Organization of Iran, Tehran, Iran.

Manuscript received August 3, 2007; accepted September 14, 2007.

Figures can be viewed in color at

Reprints: Ardeshir Sheikhazadi, MD, Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Tehran's University of Medical Sciences, Poursina St Keshavarz Blvd., Tehran, Iran. E-mail:

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.