UMEM Educational Pearls

It is likely that during ones career in Emergency Medicine, one will be faced with how to work up a child presenting to the ER following exposure to common house electrical current.  The older recommendations were such that all children exposed, received a screening EKG and were admitted to telemetry for monitoring.  However, a relatively recent article in the Annals of Emergency Medicine suggests otherwise.

In fact, after reviewing several studies the authors conclude that, although there is not enough literature to support evidence based practice “guidelines”, there appears to enough evidence to support that practice of “safely discharging these children without an initial EKG evaluation or inpatient cardiac monitoring after a common household current exposure.” This includes both 120V and 220 V exposures.

Clearly, some patients may require work up and/or admission based on other injuries or clinical presentation.


Chen E H, Sareen A, Do Children Require ECG Evaluation and Inpatient Telemetry After Household Electrical Exposures? Ann Emerg Med. 2007;49:64-67.