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Emergency Medicine International
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 167698, 6 pages
Research Article

Injuries, Sequelae, and Treatment of Lightning-Induced Injuries: 10 Years of Experience at a Swiss Trauma Center

1University Department of General Internal Medicine, Inselspital Bern, 3010 Bern, Switzerland
2University Department of Emergency Medicine, Inselspital Bern, 3010 Bern, Switzerland
3Swiss Federal Statistical Office, 2000 Neuchâtel, Switzerland

Received 3 January 2012; Accepted 4 March 2012

Academic Editor: Robert W. Derlet

Copyright © 2012 Carmen A. Pfortmueller et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Principals. Lightning is one of the most powerful and spectacular natural phenomena. Lightning strikes to humans are uncommon but can cause devastating injuries. We analyzed lightning-related admissions to our emergency department from January 2000 to December 2010 to review and highlight the main features of lightning-related injuries. Methods. All data were collected prospectively and entered in the emergency department’ database (Qualicare Switzerland) and retrospectively analyzed. Results. Nine patients with lightning-related injuries presented to our emergency department. Four were female, and five were male. The most common site of injury was the nervous system (6 out of 9 patients) followed by the cardiovascular system (5 out of 9 patients). The third most common injuries occurred to the skin (3 out of 9 patients). Four of the patients had to be hospitalized for further observation. Conclusion. Reports of lightning strikes and related injuries are scarce. The establishment of an international register would therefore benefit the understanding of their injury patterns and facilitate specific treatment.