Study: Tasers Can Cause Heart Attacks

May 2, 2012 Updated: May 2, 2012

Tasers, the electronic stun guns commonly used by law enforcement, can cause cardiac arrest and death, according to a recent study published in the American Heart Association journal, Circulation.

Electrical shocks administered by Taser X26s “can produce transthoracic stimulation resulting in cardiac electrical capture and ventricular arrhythmias leading to cardiac arrest,” an abstract of the the study reads.

This means that shock from a Taser, can in certain cases, set off an irregular heart rhythm, leading to a heart attack, according to the NY Times.

Tasers fire electrodes that deliver an initial shock of around 50,000 volts, making a person incapacitated for a moment. The device is used by law enforcement agencies around the world as an alternative to firearms.

“This is a scientific fact,” Dr. Byron Lee, a cardiologist with the University of San Francisco, told the New York Times.

Lee, who was not involved with the study, found the results persuasive. “The national debate should now center on whether the risk of sudden death with Tasers is low enough to warrant widespread use by law enforcement,” Lee said.