The cardiovascular, respiratory, and metabolic effects of a long duration electronic control device exposure in human volunteers

Donald M. Dawes, Jeffrey D. Ho, Robert F. Reardon, James R. Miner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Electronic control devices (ECD) have become popular in law enforcement because they have filled a gap left by other law enforcement devices, tactics, or tools and have been shown to reduce officer and suspect injuries. Civilians are using the same technology for defensive purposes. TASER C2 is the latest generation civilian-marketed device from the manufacturer. Unlike the law enforcement devices, the device discharges for 30 s continuously. This study is the first to look at the cardiovascular, respiratory, and metabolic effects of this device on human subjects. This was a prospective, observational study of human subjects involved in a training course. Subjects were exposed for 30 s on the anterior thorax. Vital signs, ECG, troponin I, pH, lactate, and creatine kinase (CK) were measured before and immediately after the exposure. Troponin I, pH, lactate, and CK were measured again 24 h after the exposure. Continuous spirometry was used to evaluate the respiratory effects. Echocardiography was also performed before, during, and immediately after the exposure to determine heart rate and rhythm. Eleven subjects completed the study. There were no clinically important electrocardiogram changes and no positive troponins. Spirometry showed an increase in minute ventilation during the exposure. There was no important change in CK at 24 h. Lactate was slightly higher and pH was slightly lower after the exposure, but similar to the effects of physical exertion. Echocardiography was performed in 6 subjects. In half of these subjects, the rhythm was determined to be "sinus" and in the other half the rhythm was indeterminant. In our study, the civilian device caused a mild lactic acidosis. No other important physiologic effects were found.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)268-274
Number of pages7
JournalForensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2010


  • Acidosis
  • ECG
  • Echocardiography
  • Electronic control device
  • Spirometry
  • Troponin
  • pH


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