Welcome to AmericanCPR.com!

Image of Google+ icon signifying a link to Google+ page Image of Twitter icon signifying a link to Twitter page Image of YouTube icon signifying a link to YouTube page Image of Facebook icon signifying a link to Facebook page

Effects of electric current in the human body

WarningHere's an interesting one.

One of our Instructors was teaching a class recently, and during the burn first aid portion of the class and a student asked what the effects of different types of electrical shock were.

This is a good question - electrical shock will indeed create burn injuries (often at both entry and exit points and even internal burns and injuries as the current runs through the body and then "grounds out" leaving the body to travel on again), but it electricity can cause other types of damage, as well, including cardiac arrest.

We had to dig deep, but found this in our 2001 version of our OSHA 10 Hour Safety training materials, so we thought we would share!





1 milliampere Perception level. Just a faint tingle.


5 milliamperes Slight shock felt; not painful but disturbing. Average person can let go. However, involuntary reaction to shocks in this range can lead to injuries


6 - 25 milliamps (women) &

3 - 30 milliamps (men)

Painful shock, muscular control is lost. This is called the freeze current or "let go" range.


50 - 150 milliamps Extreme pain, respiratory arrest, severe muscular contractions. Individuals can not let go. Death is possible.


1,000 - 4,3000 milliamps Ventricular fibrillation - the rhythmic pumping action of the heart ceases.  Muscular contraction and nerve damage occur. Death is most likely.


10,000 milliamps Cardiac arrest, severe burns and probable death.


If the extensor muscles are excited by the electrical shock, the person may be thrown away from the circuit.

Leave a Reply

Sorry, you must be logged in to post a comment.