Factors Affecting the Clinical Outcome of Low-Voltage Electrical Injuries in Children

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Abstract

Purpose

This study evaluated the clinical features of low-voltage (220–240 V) electrical injuries and their mortality in children.

Methods

This cross-sectional study evaluated 36 patients younger than 18 years who suffered a low-voltage electrical shock and presented to the emergency department between January 2009 and October 2011. For statistical analysis, Fisher exact test was used for categorical variables, and the Mann-Whitney U test for continuous variables.

Results

In the 34-month period, 36 patients (27 boys [75%] and 9 girls [25%]) were injured. The mean patient age was 9.19 ± 4.10 years (range, 2–17 years). Of the 36 patients, 5 (13.9%) died. Significant relationships were found between mortality and age (P =0.004), unconscious at the time of admission to the emergency department (P =0.013), the presence of clinical shock (P = 0.005), sinus tachycardia (P = 0.003), and high lactate dehydrogenase levels (P = 0.001). There were also significant relationships between mortality and hospital stay (P = 0.005), intensive care unit stay (P = 0.002), and detection of bacterial growth in blood culture (P = 0.024). By contrast, sex, the presence of an electrical exit wound, degree of the burn, surface area of the burn (%), accompanying flash burn, time elapsed transferring the patient from the accident scene to hospital, incomplete bundle-branch block or ST-wave changes on the electrocardiogram, increased troponin T, and creatine phosphokinase myocardial bundle did not affect mortality.

Conclusions

Complications such as sepsis and electrolyte imbalance lead to mortality rather than low-voltage electrical injury itself.

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