Electrical injury and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: A systematic review of the literature

Kumar Abhinav, Ammar Al-Chalabi, Tibor Hortobagyi, P. Nigel Leigh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

39 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Electrical injury may act as a potential precipitating or risk factor for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). A systematic review of the literature was undertaken to assess the relationship between electrical injury and the development of ALS. Information for the review was obtained using five medical databases, and from manual searching of individual papers. Patients presenting with a neurological syndrome after electrical injury, including lightning, were included and classified into four categories: ALS; progressive upper motor neurone (UMN) syndrome; progressive lower motor neurone (LMN) syndrome; and non-progressive syndrome. Linear regression and χ2 testing were used for analysis of the data. 96 individuals, comprising 44 with ALS, 1 with a progressive UMN syndrome, 7 with a progressive LMN syndrome and 44 with a non-progressive syndrome, were identified from 31 papers with publication dates between 1906 and 2002. The median interval between electrical injury and disease onset was 2.25 years for all progressive syndromes and just over 1 week for the non-progressive syndrome. The more severe the shock (excluding lightning), the more likely individuals were to have a non-progressive motor syndrome. A non-progressive spinal cord syndrome is associated with more severe electrical injury. Overall, the evidence reviewed does not support a causal relationship between ALS and electric shock.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)450-453
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry
Volume78
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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