April 1954


AMA Arch Surg. 1954;68(4):531-537. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1954.01260050533017

IN SPITE of the voluminous literature on thermal burns published during the last 10 years, surprisingly little has been recorded on electrical burns. It is accepted that the incidence of electrical burns is low, considering that we today live in a veritable maze of electric wiring.

Experience with a small group of these injuries, demonstrating the peculiarities of electrical trauma, prompted a brief review of this problem.

The effect a given current has upon an organism depends upon several factors1: (1)tension, or voltage; (2) intensity, or amperage; (3) type of current; (4) resistance at points of contact; (5) path of the current; (6) individual susceptibility of the organism.

Currents below 1,000 volts are considered low-tension currents, and those above 1,000 volts, high tension. Anything above 65 volts is dangerous, especially if the person is well grounded. Amperage, or intensity of an electric current in a given conductor, is its

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