The management of electrical injuries within the emergency department and the pre-hospital setting can be complex. Patients may require advanced life support with immediate treatment of cardiac dysrhythmias.

In addition, simultaneous treatment and assessment is required for associated injuries. Switching off the current source is essential to prevent further injury to the patient and would be rescuers. In the pre-hospital setting this responsibility usually falls upon the fire brigade or employees of the regional electrical authority.

Great care is required particularly with high voltage sources which may produce arcing of electrical current. When faced with multiple casualties who have sustained electrical injury, those who are apparently lifeless should receive priority. Victims are often fit, young individuals who may respond to simple measures such as ventilation and defibrillation.

Learning bite

Treatment involves simultaneous assessment and resuscitation.