Author + information
- Received June 4, 2010
- Accepted June 11, 2010
- Published online April 19, 2011.
An 83-year-old man with a cardioverter-defibrillator took a shower and for support grabbed a metal water pipe accidentally connected to a live 240 V feed. With the passage of electricity, he developed severe muscle twitching with tightening of his grip on the pipe. The defibrillator discharged twice, resulting in a jolt, thrusting him out of the shower, with disengagement from the electrified pipe.
Interrogation of the device revealed normal electrical activity of the heart during the event, with ventricular and atrial premature beats and simultaneous high-frequency, low-amplitude waves due to the muscle fasciculations (A). The near-electrocution did not induce ventricular fibrillation as expected, and did not perturb appropriate myocardial depolarization. The device discharged twice (B, C) after detection of high-frequency vibrations, with their disappearance shortly after the final shock. The patient resumed daily activities after this “shocking” experience, grateful to the device for an “off-label” life-saving shock delivery.
- Received June 4, 2010.
- Accepted June 11, 2010.
- American College of Cardiology Foundation