- Lightning is a discharge of energy that occurs cloud to cloud (90%) or cloud to ground (10%)
- Exposure to lightning:
- Brief duration (1–100 ms)
- Typically occurs during outdoor activity
- Highest incidence in summer months, between 3 and 6 PM
- Fatality rate of 8–10%
- Mechanism of injury—electrical:
- Direct strike (5%)
- Contact potential (15–25%):
- Current passes through an object the victim is touching
- Side splash (20–30%):
- Current jumps from nearby object to the victim
- Step voltage, or ground potential (40–50%):
- Current moves through the ground surface and may injure multiple victims
- Current moves through hard-wired telephone lines, metallic pipes, or a structure's electrical equipment, causing lightning injury to victims indoors
- Upward streamer (10–15%):
- Negatively charged lightning strikes from a cloud and induces positive current from the ground to rise and meet it to complete the lightning channel
- Mechanism of injury—trauma:
- Blunt trauma:
- Muscle contractions can throw the victim and/or cause a fall
- Thermal burn
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Schaider, Jeffrey J., et al., editors. "Lightning Injuries." 5-Minute Emergency Consult, 5th ed., Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2016. Emergency Central, emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307229/all/Lightning_Injuries.
Lightning Injuries. In: Schaider JJJ, Barkin RMR, Hayden SRS, et al, eds. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307229/all/Lightning_Injuries. Accessed June 6, 2023.
Lightning Injuries. (2016). In Schaider, J. J., Barkin, R. M., Hayden, S. R., Wolfe, R. E., Barkin, A. Z., Shayne, P., & Rosen, P. (Eds.), 5-Minute Emergency Consult (5th ed.). Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307229/all/Lightning_Injuries
Lightning Injuries [Internet]. In: Schaider JJJ, Barkin RMR, Hayden SRS, Wolfe RER, Barkin AZA, Shayne PP, Rosen PP, editors. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. [cited 2023 June 06]. Available from: https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307229/all/Lightning_Injuries.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - Lightning Injuries ID - 307229 ED - Barkin,Adam Z, ED - Shayne,Philip, ED - Rosen,Peter, ED - Schaider,Jeffrey J, ED - Barkin,Roger M, ED - Hayden,Stephen R, ED - Wolfe,Richard E, BT - 5-Minute Emergency Consult UR - https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307229/all/Lightning_Injuries PB - Lippincott Williams & Wilkins ET - 5 DB - Emergency Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -