Pioneering the treatment of electrical injury



Current Research

Understanding the connection between Electrical Shock and Subsequent Neuromuscular Disorders

There are increasingly more uses for Electrical power being developed constantly. Not surprisingly, a large percent of people living in modern society have experienced an electrical shock. Most people recover from low energy and do not manifest long- term disability. Whereas some people report problems of peripheral pain, loss of strength or coordination and other problems that interferes with their daily activities.

One of CETRI’s primary research goals is to understand the connection between electrical shock injury and the later manifestation of disabling neuromuscular pain and/or disability. Basic clinical questions regarding how preinjury factors many predispose to neuromuscular problems and what therapies are most effective in mitigating against manifestation of neuromuscular disability are the subject matter of CETRI’s top priority research.

Neuropsychological Sequelae of Electrical Shock Injury

Survivor of electrical shock injury frequently present with clinical signs and symptoms of stress disorders, depression, cognitive changes and emotion disorders with no pre-injury history of these problems. Furthermore, these problems can manifest with delayed onset. However, not all electrical shock survivors present with such neuropsychological disorders.

Over the past 26 years, CETRI has performed multidisciplinary clinical evaluations on many hundreds of electrical shock survivors that contacted CETRI because of clinical complaints after surviving electrical shock. CETRI is working to parameterize and analyze our experience to be understand the factors linking electrical shock and neuropsychological disorders.

Optimal Physical therapy Approaches to recovering from electrical shock injury

Neuromuscular retraining is an important aspect of successfully recovering from all forms of physical trauma especially those which damage nerves and skeletal muscle. Proper healing and neuromuscular adaptation are important for successful recovery. A fundamental priority for CETRI is learn how best to maximize functional sensory and motor recovery following electrical shock injury.

A follow-up study of a large group of children struck by lightning
L M A Silva, PhD; M A Cooper, MD; R Blumenthal, MD; N Pliskin, PhD;

South African Medical Journal 2016

Background. On 11 November 1994, 26 preadolescent girls, 2 adult supervisors and 7 dogs were sleeping in a tent in rural South Africa when the tent was struck by lightning. Four of the girls and four of the dogs were killed. The 2 adults were unharmed, but all but 3 of the children suffered significant injuries. An article in 2002 detailed the event and examined the medical and psychological changes in the surviving girls.

Objective. To understand the medical and psychological changes secondary to lightning strike years after injury.

Methods. An online questionnaire was prepared that included a checklist of physical and psychological symptoms. Participants were asked to report on both initial and current symptoms. Eleven of the 22 survivors were contacted, and 10 completed the survey.

Results. Participants reported that initial physical symptoms generally resolved over time, with ~10 - 20% continuing to experience physical symptoms. Vision problems persisted in 50% of respondents. Psychological symptoms, overall, had a later onset and were more likely to be chronic or currently experienced. Depression and anxiety, specifically, were higher among the survivors than the reported incidence in South Africa.

Conclusions. Initial and current/chronic physical and psychological symptoms following lightning strike are reported were found, adding to the body of literature on the long-term after-effects of lightning strike on survivors. A brief discussion on post-traumatic stress disorder symptomatology and post-lightning shock syndrome is provided.

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