Do children need to be monitored after electric shocks?

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Abstract

Objective:

To determine whether cardiac monitoring is required in children sustaining electric shock at Australian household voltage.

Methodology:

Records of patients admitted via the Emergency Department of Princess Margaret Hospital for Children, Perth, Australia, for the period 1968-96 were retrospectively reviewed. The initial ECG findings of patients with an electric shock were recorded, and the development of any arrhythmia.

Results:

Forty-four patients were identified, 40 of whom had sustained a household electrical injury. One patient had an abnormal ECG on admission, none developed an arrhythmia and all survived.

Conclusions:

Routine cardiac monitoring is not required after exposure to Australian household electricity supply if the child is asymptomatic and has a normal ECG on presentation.

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