Lightning injury as a blast injury of skull, brain, and visceral lesions: clinical and experimental evidences.
The present study attempts to better understand the mechanism of injuries associated with direct lightning strikes. We reviewed the records of 256 individuals struck by lightning between 1965 and 1999, including 56 people who were killed. Basal skull fracture, intracranial haemorrhage, pulmonary haemorrhage, or solid organ rupture was suspected in three men who died. Generally these lesions have been attributed to current flow or falling after being struck. However, examination of surface injuries sustained suggested that the true cause was concussion secondary to blast injury resulting from vaporization of water on the body surface by a surface flashover spark. To investigate this hypothesis, an experimental model of a lightning strike was created in the rat. Saline-soaked blotting paper was used to simulate wet clothing or skin, and an artificial lightning impulse was applied. The resultant lesions were consistent with our hypothesis that the blast was reinforced by the concussive effect of water vaporization. The concordance between the clinical and experimental evidence argues strongly for blast injury as an important source of morbidity and mortality in lightning strikes. (+info)
Mass casualties and triage at a sporting event.
When a sports medicine doctor provides coverage for a sporting event with a large number of athletes and spectators, he or she should always be aware that the potential for a large number of injuries exists. In the event of a mass casualty incident that overwhelms the available medical resources, he or she may be the most qualified professional present to triage and organise patient care. Certain basic rules of triage in a disaster situation should be followed, the goal being to save as many lives as possible. Special circumstances, such as crush injuries, lightning strikes, and blast injuries, may affect the triage and initial care of injured patients. (+info)
An unusual case of late ocular changes after lightning injury.
We describe a case of late ocular changes after lightning injury. One year after the injury, complete ankyloblepharon, severe dry eye, corneal opacity, healed iritis and mature cataracts were noted in both eyes of the patient. (+info)
Lightning-associated injuries and deaths among military personnel--United States, 1998-2001.
After flooding, lightning is the second leading cause of weather-related death in the United States; approximately 300 injuries and 100 deaths are associated annually with lightning strikes in the United States. To characterize lightning-associated injuries and deaths among U.S. Armed Forces personnel, the U.S. Army and CDC analyzed data from the Defense Medical Surveillance System (DMSS). This that the highest lightning-related injury rates during 1998-2001 occurred among male U.S. military members who were aged <40 years, single, with a high school education or less, stationed near the Gulf of Mexico or the East Coast, and in the U.S. Army. The findings suggest that the risk for lightning-associated injury depends primarily on the frequency, timing, duration, and nature of outdoor exposure to thunderstorms. Military personnel should be aware of severe weather onset and take reasonable precautions to protect themselves and their companions from exposure to lightning. (+info)
Lightning injury in an outdoor swine herd.
Three pigs, weighing 63 kg-70 kg each, from a group of 8 pigs in an outdoor pen that was struck by lightning were necropsied. All 3 pigs presented with hind limb paralysis. The only lesions identified were multiple fractures of the last (seventh) lumbar vertebral body and first sacral vertebral segment, with dorsal displacement of the sacrum and transection of the distal spinal cord and spinal nerves. Hemorrhages extended from the fracture sites into muscles immediately surrounding the lumbosacral junction and retroperitoneally into the pelvic cavity. These hemorrhages were not clearly visible until the pelvic region was dissected. Lesions commonly found in human lightning-strike victims were not present in these pigs. Because vertebral fractures may be the only lesions and may be grossly subtle in heavily muscled pigs, careful pelvic and vertebral dissection is recommended in cases of suspected lightning strike and electrocution. (+info)
Acute polyneuropathy due to lightning injury.
The case of a 19 year old man struck by lightning is described. He sustained quadriplegia for several months and fully recovered. It is suggested that his weakness was due to extensive peripheral nerve damage. In addition, he displayed many well recognised medical complications of lightning injury including acute renal failure, rhabdomyolysis, respiratory distress syndrome, autonomic dysfunction, perforated ear drum, uveitis and cataract. The literature relating to the neurology of lightning strike is briefly reviewed. (+info)
Epidemiology of electrical and lightning related deaths and injuries among Canadian children and youth.
Among burn injuries, electrical injuries constitute a small but devastating fraction. To describe the epidemiology of electrical injuries in Canadian children, data on deaths and emergency department visits related to electrical injuries, including lightning strikes, were obtained from provincial coroners' offices and the Canadian Hospitals Injury Reporting and Prevention Program (CHIRPP) respectively, for the years 1991-96. Twenty one deaths and 606 emergency visits highlight that electrical related deaths, more frequent among school age children, are more likely the result of high voltage and lightning strike, while emergency department visits, more frequent among younger children, are more likely the result of low voltage. While the introduction of legislated standards for child safe outlets and educational programs for parents, children, and youth are recommended strategies toward reducing the frequency of these incidents, these strategies require further evaluation before their effectiveness can be estimated. (+info)
MR imaging findings in delayed reversible myelopathy from lightning strike.
Delayed spinal cord injury following high-voltage electrical injury is a rare but well-documented phenomenon. The MR imaging features of this entity, however, have not been well documented. We report the MR imaging findings in a case of delayed sensory and motor deficits following a lightning strike. MR imaging revealed hyperintense signal within the cord on T2-weighted and STIR images extending from C1 to C3. Axial images localized the hyperintense signal to the posterolateral region of the spinal cord bilaterally. Follow-up MR imaging 6 weeks later demonstrated resolution of abnormal cord signal intensity. (+info)