Exposures to Conducted Electrical Weapons (Including TASER® Devices): How Many and for How Long are Acceptable?*

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Abstract

TASER® conducted electrical weapons (CEWs) are an important law-enforcement tool. The purposes of this study are a) to review recent literature regarding potential pathophysiological responses to applications of CEWs, and other related issues and b) to evaluate whether enough data exist to determine the acceptability of longer-duration (or repeated) exposures. This is a narrative review, using a multidisciplinary approach of analyzing reports from physiological, legal-medical, and police-strategy literature sources. In general, short-duration exposures to CEWs result in limited effects. Longer-duration or repeated exposures may be utilized with caution, although there are currently not enough data to determine the acceptability of all types of exposures. Data examined in the literature have inherent limitations. Appropriateness of specific types of CEW usage may be determined by individual police agencies, applying risk/benefit analyses unique to each organization. While more research is recommended, initial concepts of potential future long-duration or repeated CEW applications are presented.

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