Lightning strikes

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Lightning strikes

May is traditionally a period of thunderstorm rains. And lightning strikes affecting people are, unfortunately, not uncommon. Mr. Vuada Mohamed Ali, MD, shared about what happens in the body as a result of a lightning strike and what consequences may occur.

What happens in the body when struck by lightning? 

The human body is a complex electric device. The effect of electric current in the form of a lightning causes an overload of the nervous system, has a negative impact on the heart muscle. The fact is, the human heart is driven by weak electric pulses. A lightning strike may upset their own rhythms, causing a cardiac arrest or provoking life- threatening arrhythmia. 

Typically,  lightning strikes lead to clinical death – the heart stops and there is no breathing. When appropriate aid is rendered on time these important functions can be restored. Otherwise, there comes an irreversible, biological death.

Among other things, in the place where  electrical discharge enters the body a so-called "lightning flower”– an arborescent (tree-like) pattern appears. Another common feature of lightning strikes is severe  burns.

What close and distant consequences of the lightning strike can be expected?

Immediately after a lightning strike heart rhythm disturbances, burns, paralysis caused by the injury of the nervous system may occur. Eye lesions are frequent, the most common eye disease is the cataract that may develop both in the first days following the strike, and a few years after the electric injury.  

Also, hearing problems can occur, that can be temporary or persist throughout life.

The  nervous system injury may lead to consequences in the future, such as in the form of depression, memory impairment, decline in cognitive function: concentration, psychomotor coordination, speech. Memory loss frequently occurs, which can be either partial or full. Unfortunately,  not every affected person manages to recover their memory.

What  lightning strike treatment is needed after the injury?

In case of a lightning strike first medical aid to render first aid is essential, artificial respiration and indirect heart massage if needed.

Further treatment of such patients is conducted in the hospital. During the early posttraumatic period, the risk of heart rhythm disturbances remains, so the main objective of the initial treatment is the prevention of life-threatening arrhythmias. 

The burns caused by an electric injury also require medical intervention,  these burns are often quite severe.

Such patients will be provided a multimodality therapy: the status of this patient is monitored by cardiologist, neurologist, surgeon, resuscitator.

How long will such treatment require?

The duration of such treatment is rather difficult to predict, but the rehabilitation period will definitely exceede  one week.

However it is worth noting that some lightning-struck lucky devils managed to get off with nothing more than a fright.

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Average: 1.3 (4 votes)

Doctors

Корень Евгений Владимирович – психиатр клиники психиатрии и психотерапии ЕМС. Госпитализация в стационар при алкогольной зависимости.
Psychiatrist, Zonal representative of the children's section of the World Psychiatric Association, a scientific consultant of child psychiatry at EMC
M.D, Ph.D.
Director Institute of Oncology, M.D., Clinical Oncologist, Radiation Oncologist
Бесплатная консультация рентгенолога в рамках акции «Второе мнение» в ЕМС.
Deputy Director, Chief Consultant of Oncology Diagnostics
M.D., FRCR, Professor of Radiology
Копосов Павел Валентинович – онколог, химиотерапевт института онкологии ЕМС. Примерный расчет стоимости предстоящего курса лечения по акции «Второе мнение».
Deputy Director Institute of Oncology, Chief Consultant of Medical Oncology, M.D., Professor
Chairman Faculty of Oncology, EMC Medical School

Reviews

Patrice C Schweitzer

I was admitted to your hospital on March 8, 2015.  I arrived via ambulance along with Dr. Volkov who was so kind.  When your not feeling well sometimes one person can make all the difference. That person was Karina.  She was so kind and came to my my room in the ER to explain a few things and she was like a ray of sunshine with her proper English, beautiful smile and happy attitude.  I think she must be a great asset to the company and I hope she will continue to progress in her career with EMC.  Everyone was very kind and helpful, including Nikita, the nurse who took ( read more )

I was admitted to your hospital on March 8, 2015.  I arrived via ambulance along with Dr. Volkov who was so kind.  When your not feeling well sometimes one person can make all the difference. That person was Karina.  She was so kind and came to my my room in the ER to explain a few things and she was like a ray of sunshine with her proper English, beautiful smile and happy attitude.  I think she must be a great asset to the company and I hope she will continue to progress in her career with EMC.  Everyone was very kind and helpful, including Nikita, the nurse who took care of me for 24 hours.  The ladies serving the food, the ladies cleaning the rooms, the phlebotomists, nurses and all the doctors were helpful and kind.  I just wanted to say thank you.   ( hide )

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