February 11, 2005
TASER International Disputes Media Link to Heart Damage
Medical Experts Clarify Results of Recent Air Force TASER Device Study
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - TASER International, Inc. (Nasdaq: TASR), a market leader in advanced non-lethal devices, disputes the recent Associated Press article and CBS report which stated that, "a study... found that repeated shocks from a TASER stun gun 'led to heart damage in pigs.'"
TASER International is deeply concerned that CBS News and the Associated Press would publicize erroneous links between the TASER and heart damage conflicting with the study author's own assertions and relying solely on statistically insignificant readings.
The Air Force study, authored by Dr. James Jauchem, was presented in November, 2004 at the Non-Lethal Technology and Academic Research (NTAR) symposium. The study investigated the effects of repeated TASER device applications, with each animal subjected to 18 TASER device applications within a three minute period. The study was repeated twice on each animal with a one-hour break between sessions, subjecting each animal to a total of 36 TASER device applications. Various elements of blood chemistry were measured before and after the TASER applications. At the conclusion of the session, Dr. Jauchem indicated he saw no significant difference in blood chemistry between the post TASER stimulation and what one would expect to see from an animal undergoing strenuous physical exertion. The study did not find ventricular fibrillation or heart damage.
The link CBS News has attempted to establish between the TASER and purported "heart damage" is based upon readings of the enzyme Troponin T. The study results indicated a slight increase in Troponin T. However, Dr. Jauchem informed CBS News that the change was statistically insignificant.
Commenting on the study, Dr. Richard Luceri, MD, a specialist in cardiac electrophysiology and advisor to TASER International said, "After viewing the CBS report on TASER safety based on the Air Force study on pigs, I am appalled at the direct implication that TASER use causes cardiac damage. The results of the Troponin analysis not only failed to demonstrate any statistical significance but also failed to show the typical marked jump in the curves seen in true heart damage. Classically, Troponin release is directly related to coronary vessel obstruction (heart attack), which was certainly not the case in this study.
Non-specific elevations of Troponin are frequently observed in a variety of situations such as the common application of curative electrical shocks to the heart by cardioverters or defibrillators. These are typically 20-30 times greater in intensity than a TASER output, and are applied directly to the heart. We would never utilize these lifesaving measures if they caused heart damage. As a physician and researcher I find it irresponsible to link minor, commonly observed Troponin elevations with heart damage. Such information is not only factually and scientifically inaccurate, but in its broader context, it provides the public with a distorted view of the beneficial uses of such electrical equipment."
Further commenting on the study, Dr. Hugh Calkins, advisor to TASER International and Professor of Medicine and Director of the Arrhythmia Service at Johns Hopkins Hospital commented, "During a heart attack the level of Troponin T and Troponin I will increase typically by more than 20 fold their baseline value ... Not only was no statistically significant difference in these biomarkers observed following TASER application in the Air Force study, but there is also no gradual and marked increase in these biomarkers ... The slight, and statistically insignificant fluctuations in these biomarkers observed in this study appear to be noise rather than evidence of any cardiac damage."
While CBS News acknowledged the levels of Troponin T were statistically insignificant, CBS News called "the very existence of Troponin T medically significant." However, according to a feature article in the American College of Pathologists, Troponin triple crown: diagnosis, risk, Rx, July 2001, "it is important to recognize that the notion that there is no Troponin in the blood of healthy persons is erroneous."
About TASER International, Inc.
TASER International, Inc. provides advanced non-lethal devices for use in the law enforcement, military, private security and personal defense markets. TASER devices use proprietary technology to safely incapacitate dangerous, combative or high-risk subjects who pose a risk to law enforcement officers, innocent citizens or themselves. TASER technology saves lives every day, and the use of TASER devices dramatically reduces injury rates for police officers and suspects and reduces litigation costs. For more information on TASER life-saving technology, please call TASER International at (800) 978-2737 or visit our website at www.TASER.com. .
For more information on TASER life-saving technology, please call TASER International at (800) 978-2737 or visit our website at www.TASER.com