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Diffuse Electrical Injury
  1. Jennifer S. Berg, MD*,
  2. Michael S. Morse, PhD
  1. *Mental Health Services Department, Naval Medical Center, San Diego, California;
  2. Department of Engineering (215 Loma Hall), University of San Diego, 5998 Alcala Park, San Diego, CA 92110. E-mail: jsberg3{at}aol.com; mmorse{at}sandiego.edu

    Abstract

    Electrical injuries occur relatively infrequently but can lead to various immediate and delayed neurological and neuropsychological consequences. Many physicians are familiar with high voltage injury with significant full thickness burns, peripheral nerve damage, and possibly brain ischaemia secondary to cardiorespiratory arrest. Other indirect neurological consequences are traumatic brain and spinal cord injury secondary to a fall after the electrical injury. Neurologists may be less familiar with delayed spinal cord damage and a clinical picture such as a lower motor neuron syndrome, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or transverse myelitis – days or decades following the electrical injury.

    Even rarer, and the focus of this article, is what has been referred to as diffuse electrical injury where there are diffuse symptoms, both ‘path related’ and remote to the theoretical current pathway (the linear path of the electrical current from entry point to exit point). This produces remote physical, neurological or neuropsychological symptoms that may

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