Echocardiographic evaluation of TASER X26 probe deployment into the chests of human volunteers

Published:October 26, 2009DOI:


      Several animal studies have shown that the TASER X26 (TASER International, Scottsdale, Ariz) conducted electrical weapon can electrically capture the myocardium when discharged on the thorax. These results have not been reproduced in human echocardiographic studies. A primary limitation of those human studies is that the TASER device was connected by taping the wires into conductive gel on the skin surface of the thorax. This study overcomes those limitations. In this study, a training instructor discharged a TASER X26 into the chests of 10 subjects from a distance of 7 ft so that a 5-second discharge could be administered through the probes as in field exposures. Limited echocardiography was performed before, during, and after discharge. In agreement with 2 prior studies by these authors, the TASER X26 did not electrically capture the human myocardium when used with probe deployment. These data are contrary to animal studies in which capture occurred.
      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to The American Journal of Emergency Medicine
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Nanthakumar K.
        • Billingsley I.M.
        • Masse S.
        • et al.
        Cardiac electrophysiological consequences of neuromuscular incapacitating device discharges.
        J Am Coll Cardiol. 2006; 48: 798-804
        • Walter R.
        • Dennis A.
        • et al.
        TASER X26 discharges in swine produce potentially fatal ventricular arrhythmias.
        Acad Emerg Med. 2008; 15: 66-73
        • Ho J.
        • Dawes D.
        • et al.
        Ultrasound measurement of cardiac activity during conducted electrical weapon application in exercising adults.
        Ann Emerg Med. 2007; 50: S108
        • Ho J.
        • et al.
        Echocardiographic evaluation of human transcutaneous TASER application along the cardiac axis.
        Heart Rhythm. 2008; 5: S348
        • Ideker R.E.
        • Dosdall D.J.
        Can the direct cardiac effects of the electric pulses generated by the TASER X26 cause immediate or delayed sudden cardiac arrest in normal adults?.
        Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 2007; 28: 195-201
        • Gregory C.
        • Dixon W.
        • Bickel C.
        Impact of varying pulse frequency and duration on muscle torque production and fatigue.
        Muscle Nerve. 2007; 35: 504-509
        • McDaniel W.
        • Stratbucker R.
        • et al.
        Cardiac safety of neuromuscular incapacitating defensive devices.
        Pacing Clin Electrophysiol. 2005; 28: S284-S287
        • Canada Amnesty International
        Canada: inappropriate and excessive use of TASERS.
        Amnesty International Canada, 2007
        • Ho J.D.
        • Miner J.R.
        • Lakireddy D.R.
        • et al.
        Cardiovascular and physiologic effects of conducted electrical weapon discharge in resting adults.
        Acad Emerg Med. 2006; 13: 589-595
        • Vilke G.
        • Sloane C.
        • Levine S.
        • et al.
        Twelve-lead electrocardiogram monitoring of subjects before and after voluntary exposure to the TASER X26.
        Am J Emerg Med. 2008; 26: 1-4
        • Ho J.D.
        • Dawes D.M.
        • et al.
        Absence of electrocardiographic change following prolonged application of a conducted electrical weapon in physically exhausted adults.
        Acad Emerg Med. 2007; 14: S128-S129
        • Ho J.D.
        • Reardon R.F.
        • Heegaard W.G.
        Deaths in police custody: an 8 month surveillance study.
        Ann Emerg Med. 2005; 46: S94
        • McManus J.
        • Forsyth T.
        • Hawks R.
        • et al.
        A retrospective case series describing the injury pattern of the advanced M26 TASER in Multnomah County, Oregon.
        Acad Emerg Med. 2004; 11: 587
        • Bozeman W.
        • Winslow J.
        • et al.
        Injury profile of electrical conducted energy weapons.
        Ann Emerg Med. 2007; 50: S65
        • Swerdlow C.
        • et al.
        Presenting rhythm in sudden custodial deaths after use of TASER electronic control device.
        Heart Rhythm. 2008; 5: S44
      1. TASER International. Field Use Database; 5/8/2007

        • Crick S.
        • Sheppard M.
        • et al.
        Anatomy of the pig heart: comparisons with normal human cardiac structure.
        J Anat. 1998; 193: 105-119
        • Allison S.
        • et al.
        The transmural activation sequence in porcine and canine left ventricle is markedly different during long-duration ventricular fibrillation.
        J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol. 2007; 18: 1306-1312
        • Stratton S.
        • Rogers C.
        • et al.
        Factors associated with sudden death of individuals requiring restraint for excited delirium.
        Am J Emerg Med. 2001; 19: 187-191
        • Strote J.
        • et al.
        TASER use in restraint-related deaths.
        Prehosp Emerg Care. 2006; 10: 447-450
        • Ross D.L.
        • Chan T.C.
        Sudden deaths in custody.
        Humana Press, Totowa (NJ)2006
        • Wetli C.
        • Fishbain D.
        Cocaine-induced psychosis and sudden death in recreational cocaine users.
        J Forensic Sci. 1985; 30: 873-880
        • Moscoti R.M.
        • Ho J.D.
        • Dawes D.M.
        • et al.
        Physiological effects of prolonged conducted electrical weapon discharge on intoxicated adults.
        Acad Emerg Med. 2007; 14: S63-S64
        • Vilke G.
        • Sloane C.
        • Bouton K.
        • et al.
        Physiological effects of a conducted electrical weapon on human subjects.
        Ann Emerg Med. 2007; 50: 569-575

      Linked Article