Arc Flash & Electrical Safety News

Blog Author Steve Hudgik

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Medical Treatment - Electrical and Arc Flash Burns

Detailed medical information about electrical and arc flash burns, including descriptions and treatment information, is available on the eMedicine web site.

Authored by Elizabeth A Liotta, MD and Dana Borgeson, DO, this article provides medical information for doctors and others who are involved in the treatment of electrical burns. This is not a first aid article, but a detailed medical treatment article. It covers everything from a description of electrical injuries to medical and surgical care.

The following is an example from the Medical Care section:

"Life-saving measures should be continued at a medical center at which patients with multiple trauma can be treated most appropriately. Optimally, the center should have an adequate burn unit or the ability to treat patients with burns. Secondary assessments are performed here as well.

* With at least 2 large-bore intravenous lines and a Foley catheter in place, parenteral fluid therapy should be administered to maintain a urine output of at least 0.5-1.0 mL/kg/h. However, if heme is present in the urine, urine output of 1.0-1.5 mL/kg/h should be maintained.

o The rule of nines for fluid resuscitation generally causes underestimation of the fluid requirements in patients with electrical burns (as opposed to those with only typical thermal burns). The reason is because of the higher likelihood of a significant or deep injury with electrical burns (Kennedy, 1998).

o Two caveats to this fluid-management regimen bear consideration: (1) In patients with head injuries, parenteral fluids may need to be relatively restricted, or adjunctive therapy may be required to prevent cerebral edema. (2) In preadolescents, fluid requirements may need to be adjusted on the basis of their body surface area or an age-specific diagram (Sheridan, 2001)."

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