Basal ganglia hemorrhage related to lightning strike.
We describe a case of bilateral basal ganglia hemorrhage after a lightning strike to the head documented by a CT scan. Review of the literature shows this to be the most common brain imaging finding that can be attributed to a lightning strike. Several mechanistic theories are discussed, with the most plausible one being related to preferential conduction pathways through the brain. (+info)
Neurologic complications of lightning injuries.
Over the past ten years, we have cared for 13 patients who suffered serious neurologic complications after being struck by lightning. The spectrum of neurologic lesions includes the entire neuraxis from the cerebral hemispheres to the peripheral nerves. We describe these various neurologic disorders with regard to the site of the lesion, severity of the deficit, and the outcome. Damage to the nervous system can be a serious problem for patients struck by lightning. Fatalities are associated with hypoxic encephalopathy in patients who suffered cardiac arrests. Patients with spinal cord lesions are likely to have permanent sequelae and paralysis. New technology for detecting lightning with wideband magnetic direction finders is useful in establishing lightning-flash densities in each state. Florida and the Gulf Coast states have the highest densities. Colorado and the Rocky Mountain states have the next highest. (+info)
Air traffic controller lightning strike.
Andersen Air Force Base in Guam boasts the tallest control tower in the Air Force. In 1986, an air traffic controller was struck by lightning as the bolt proceeded through the tower. Although he received only a backache, the lightning left a hole with surrounding scorch marks on his fatigue shirt and his undershirt. The lightning strike also ignited a portion of the field lighting panel, which caused the runway lights to go out immediately. Lack of a lightning rod is the most likely reason the controller was struck. Proper precautions against lightning strikes can prevent such occupational safety hazards. (+info)
Cardiovascular effects of lightning strikes.
OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of lightning strikes on the cardiovascular system. BACKGROUND: A lightning strike can attack its victims in one of three ways: direct hit, splash or ground strike. The cardiovascular system can be affected directly by mechanical or electrical trauma during a direct hit or can be indirectly affected through effects on the total body with extensive catecholamine release or autonomic stimulation. Reported effects include hypertension, tachycardia, nonspecific electrocardiographic (ECG) changes including prolongation of the corrected QT (QTc) interval, transient T wave inversion and myocardial necrosis with creatine kinase-MB (CK-MB) fraction release. METHODS: Nineteen victims from five separate lightning strikes were studied over a 2-month period. Each patient was evaluated by serial ECG, CK-MB determinations and echocardiography. RESULTS: The early (0 to 72 h) effects of lightning were demonstrated on the ECG by ST segment elevation consistent with acute current of injury, prolonged QTc interval with direct hits and nonspecific ST and T wave changes. On echocardiography, segmental or global ventricular dysfunction was seen, and pericardial effusion was also detected. During the intermediate (3- to 14-day) period, new and often marked ECG changes consistent with pericarditis or ischemia were seen. No new echocardiographic changes were detected, however, and the early abnormalities including severe left ventricular dysfunction with cardiogenic shock have reversed. The late (1 to 12 months) period revealed only one patient with long-term sequelae (recurrent pericarditis that persisted for 5 months). CONCLUSIONS: Unless both entrance and exit sites are limited to the lower limbs, direct and splash lightning strikes cause myocardial damage as assessed by abnormal serum enzyme determinations or abnormal echocardiographic findings. Only direct hits resulted in echocardiographic abnormalities or a prolonged QTc interval. The degree of myocardial injury can be severe with left and right ventricular ejection fraction < 15% and can be reversible. (+info)
A lightning strike can cause death or various injuries to one or several persons. The mechanism of injury is unique, and the manifestations differ from those of other electrical injuries. In the United States, lightning causes more deaths than do most other natural hazards (e.g., hurricanes and tornadoes), although the incidence of lightning-related deaths has decreased since the 1950s. The cases described in this report illustrate diverse circumstances in which deaths attributable to lightning can occur. This report also summarizes data from the Compressed Mortality File of CDC's National Center for Health Statistics on lightning fatalities in the United States from 1980 through 1995, when 1318 deaths were attributed to lightning. (+info)
Lightning stroke and neuropsychological impairment: cases and questions.
OBJECTIVE: To objectify neuropsychological impairments in survivors of lightning stroke with lasting complaints about poor concentration and inability to divide their attention. DESIGN: A series of six cases of lightning stroke were studied. All patients had lost consciousness and reported amnesia of varying length. Assessment took place between one and four years after injury, ensuring that their neurological state had stabilised. They were tested with a neuropsychological battery with an emphasis on attention and memory. Personality and emotional reaction to the accident were assessed with questionnaires and a lightning fear scale. Complaints were recorded by means of a trauma complaints list including 10 questions on symptoms of the post-traumatic stress disorder. RESULTS: Patients reported fatigue and lack of energy as their main complaints. In addition, poor concentration, irritability, and emotional lability were mentioned often. Neuropsychological tests disclosed mild impairments in memory, attention, and visual reaction times. Two patients could be classified as depressed, and one of these also showed convincing signs of the post-traumatic stress disorder. CONCLUSION: As the lasting complaints and impairments could not be explained, for all six cases, as resulting from head injury concomitant with lightning stroke, cerebral hypoxia or a post-traumatic stress syndrome, it is concluded that lightning stroke can result in subtle cognitive impairments. It is speculated that most complaints of these survivors are caused by a vegetative dysregulation, a disorder that has often been noted in the literature on the effects of electrical injury to the nervous system. Such a dysregulation might cause both the main complaint of fatigue and the mild cognitive impairments identified with the present test battery. (+info)