Electrical weapons and rhabdomyolysis. Academic Article uri icon


  • It has been suggested that an application of a conducted electrical weapon (CEW) might cause muscle injury such as rhabdomyolysis and an acute inflammatory response. We explored this hypothesis by testing the effects of electrical weapons on circulating markers of inflammation and muscle damage. In a prospective study, 29 volunteers received a full-trunk 5-s TASER X26(E) CEW exposure. Venous blood samples were taken before, 5min after, and at 24h following the discharge. We tested for changes in serum levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), myoglobin, albumin, globulin, albumin/globulin ratio, aspartate and alanine aminotransferase, creatine kinase, total protein, bilirubin, and lactic acid dehydrogenase. Uncorrected CRP and myoglobin levels were lower in the immediate post exposure period (CRP levels 1.441.39 v 1.431.32mg/L; p=0.046 and myoglobin 36.811.9 v 36.113.9g/L; p=0.0019) but these changes were not significant after correction for multiple comparisons. There were no changes in other biomarkers. At 24h, CRP levels had decreased by 30% to 1.010.80mg/L (p=0.001 from baseline). ALP was unchanged immediately after the CEW application but was reduced by 5% from baseline (66.216.1 to 62.716.1IU/L; p=0.0003) at 24h. No other biomarkers were different from baseline at 24h. A full-trunk electrical weapon exposure did not lead to clinically significant changes in the acute phase protein levels or changes in measures of muscle cellular injury. We found no biomarker evidence of rhabdomyolysis.

published proceedings

  • Forensic Sci Med Pathol

altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Kroll, M. W., Witte, K. K., Ritter, M. B., Kunz, S. N., Luceri, R. M., & Criscione, J. C.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Kroll, Mark W||Witte, Klaus K||Ritter, Mollie B||Kunz, Sebastian N||Luceri, Richard M||Criscione, John C

publication date

  • January 2021