electric shock

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electric shock,

effect of the passage of a current of electricity through the body. Fatality may result from shocks of from 1 to 2 amperes and 500 to 1,000 volts. However, the effect of electric shock on the body depends not only on the strength of the current, but on such factors as wetness of the skin, area of contact, duration of contact, constitution of the victim, and whether or not the victim is well grounded. The general range of disturbances include a mild tingling (usually produced by common static electricity), spasm of the muscles, loss of consciousness, and sometimes death. In addition, burns occur where the current enters and leaves the body. A lethal dose of electricity may paralyze the respiratory organs and damage the central nervous system; the immediate cause of death, however, is usually an interruption of heart action. Electroconvulsive therapyelectroconvulsive therapy
in psychiatry, treatment of mood disorders by means of electricity; the broader term "shock therapy" also includes the use of chemical agents. The therapeutic possibilities of these treatments were discovered in the 1930s by Manfred Sakel, a Polish
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 is the use of electric shock to treat certain mental illnesses.

Electric Shock


injury caused by electric current. Such injuries most often occur in the home or at the workplace; they also result from contact with lightning.

The severity of an electric shock varies with the parameters and duration of the current. Currents under 10 milliamperes (ma) produce only unpleasant sensations and, in more severe cases, involuntary muscular contraction near the point of contact with the electric wire (for example, arm muscles). Contact with a current of 15 ma causes muscular contraction so strong that it is impossible to free the fingers holding the wire. Currents of 25 ma or greater cause all the muscles of the body to go into spasm, including the respiratory muscles, thereby threatening death from asphyxia. Also disturbed are the nervous and cardiovascular systems. There is loss of consciousness, and clinical death occurs, requiring resuscitative efforts. An alternating current of about 100 ma acts directly on the heart, causing fibrillation and requiring the use of a defibrillator to restore normal rhythmic contractions. An alternating current of about 450–500 volts (v) is more dangerous than a direct current of the same voltage; however, at higher voltages direct currents are more dangerous. Currents greater than 350 v give rise to local changes—third and fourth degree electric burns in the places where the current enters and leaves the body. The changes differ in extent, from tiny “marks” to charring of a limb.

The prognosis for a victim of an electric shock depends on the promptness with which he is given first aid, which includes quick removal from contact with the current and, in severe cases, artificial respiration and cardiac massage. Hospitalization after electric shock is essential to treat burns and neurovascular disturbances. Electric shock can be prevented by strict compliance with safety rules in assembling, operating, and repairing electrical devices.


Berezneva, V. I. Elektrotravma, elektroozhogi i ikh lechenie. Leningrad, 1964.


electric shock

[i¦lek·trik ′shäk]
The sudden pain, convulsion, unconsciousness, or death produced by the passage of electric current through the body.

electric shock

the physiological reaction, characterized by pain and muscular spasm, to the passage of an electric current through the body. It can affect the respiratory system and heart rhythm
References in periodicals archive ?
He received a low-voltage electrical shock (230 V, 50 Hz) for an unknown duration of time.
In the present study we sought to examine the efficacy of an electrocardiographic parameter, 'amplitude spectrum area' (AMSA), to predict the likelihood that any one electrical shock would restore a perfusing rhythm during cardiopulmonary resuscitation in human victims of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.
We conclude that perinatal BPA and NP exposure, even at slightly higher doses than those associated with environmental exposure in humans, had adverse behavioral effects on rats, especially when the animals were forced to avoid fear-provoking stimuli such as electrical shocks.
TRC is recognized as a worldwide leader in electrical safety products that prevent electrocution, electrical fires and protect against serious injury from electrical shock.
Two weeks ago doctors used the electrical shock to correct Olajuwon's arrhythmia, or abnormal heartbeat, after he left the Nov.
Defenseman Doug Zmolek was released Tuesday from Rocky View General Hospital in Calgary, Alberta, after having an irregular heartbeat normalized by electrical shock.
They really hadn't heard of anyone surviving that amount of electrical shock.
Its products are used for protection from electrical shock and prevention of electrical fires in the home and workplace.
Experts say a third of the 300,000 Americans who die of cardiac arrest every year could have been saved if emergency workers had delivered an electrical shock to restart the heart during the critical first minutes.
These devices discharge an electrical shock if an arrhythmia occurs, spurring the heart to resume a normal beating pattern.
The condition causes death within seconds unless the heart is given an electrical shock, such as that delivered by an ICD, allowing a normal rhythm to resume.
Such arrhythmias can be difficult to treat with drugs or open-heart surgery, but with electrical shock administered by catheter, Patrick Tchou and his colleagues at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee appear to have eliminated the patients' tachycardia.

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