Ventricular fibrillation threshold of rapid short pulses

Academic Article


  • The risk of VF (ventricular fibrillation) from continuous AC utility (50/60 Hz) power has been well quantified and is reflected in accepted standards. Similarly, the required charge for a single pulse delivered during the T-wave of the ECG is also quantified. However, there are no studies that deal with the VF risk of a train of multiple short pulses such as those used in electric fences and conducted electrical weapons (CEWs). We studied 5 swine with an electrode placed through the anterior chest such that the tip was 10 mm from the epicardium. A return electrode was attached remotely to the lower abdomen. Five-second trains of 100 s pulses at rates of 10-70 PPS (pulses per second) were delivered with gradually increasing charges until VF was induced. The VF threshold was also determined for 60 Hz AC current. As expected, the VF charge threshold decreased with increasing rates. For pulse rates between 10-30 PPS, the aggregate current ( charge pulse rate) was constant at the VF threshold. The VF threshold in terms of AC RMS current was 7.4 1.9 times the aggregate current VF threshold for the rapid short pulses. These results may have utility for setting safety standards for electric fences and for CEWs such as TASER CEWs. This also allows for the risk assessment of CEWs by comparison to international electrical safety standards. The output of these weapons appears to be well below the VF risk limits as set by these standards. © 2011 IEEE.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Walcott GP; Kroll MW; Ideker RE
  • Start Page

  • 255
  • End Page

  • 258