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Electrocution-Related Mortality: A Review of 71 Deaths by Low-Voltage Electrical Current in Guangdong, China, 2001–2010

Liu, Shuiping PhD*; Yu, Yangeng MD; Huang, Quanyong PhD; Luo, Bin PhD*; Liao, Xinbiao MD

The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology: September 2014 - Volume 35 - Issue 3 - p 193–196
doi: 10.1097/PAF.0000000000000072
Original Articles

The aim of this study was to investigate the epidemiological characteristics of low-voltage electrocution deaths in Guangdong, China. Three thousand three hundred seventy autopsy reports from the Department of Forensic Pathology, Zhongshan School of Medicine, Sun Yat-Sen University, over a period of 10 years (2001–2010) were reviewed, of which 71 low-voltage electrocution cases were identified. The descriptive statistical analyses were carried out with the application of SPSS 19.0 software. Electrocution accounted for 2.11% of all autopsied cases. The age range was 3 to 57 years with a mean age of 31.77 ± 11.0 years. The average age of male victims was 33.08 ± 10.77 years, and that of female victims was 22.63 ± 11.06 years. The majority of the victims (87.33%) were male. Among the circumstances leading to electrocution, most of them occurred in factory and in the street. Considering the contact details, deaths were caused most frequently by touching electrical wires (n = 27, 38.02%), followed by touching charged machine (n = 20, 28.17%). There were no suicide and homicide cases. Of all electrocution cases, 50.70% occurred during the summer period from June through August. The upper extremity was the most frequently involved contact site (59.72%). No electrical burn marks were present in 14 cases (19.72%). Our results indicated that most deaths from electrocution occur more often in factories, in summer seasons, and to young male workers, which can help in the development of a differentiated strategy for the prevention of electrocution, while taking into consideration sex, age, occupation, and season of the year.

From the *Department of Forensic Pathology, Zhongshan School of Medicine, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou; †Forensic Science Center of Guangdong Provincial Public Security Department, Guangzhou, Guangdong; and ‡Department of Pathology, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Dali University, Dali, Yunnan, People’s Republic of China.This work was supported by a grant from the Science and Technology Program of Guangdong Province (no. 2010B031000006).The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Manuscript received May 6, 2012; accepted February 22, 2013.

Reprints: Shuiping Liu, PhD, Department of Forensic Pathology, Zhongshan School of Medicine, Sun Yat-Sen, University, Guangzhou 510080, Guangdong, People’s Republic of China. E-mail:

© 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.