Electrical burn severity is determined by the voltage, current and type of current, duration of contact and resistance at contact points. High voltage electrical injuries (>1000Volts) meet the Victorian State Trauma System’s Major Trauma criteria.
Low voltage injuries are usually sustained in domestic (240V single phase AC) or industrial (415V 3 phase AC) settings. In general, low voltage injuries are associated with localized areas of tissue destruction.
High voltage electrical injuries occur as a result of contact with overhead powerlines and other sources of high voltage electrical currents. High Voltage Electrical injuries tend to be characterized by deep, extensive tissue damage with 3 general patterns of injury:
- ‘true’ electrical injury caused by current flow
- electrical arc injury caused by arc of current from source to object
- flame injury from ignition of clothes etc
High voltage injuries are commonly associated with other traumatic injuries.