Tasers can indeed cause cardiac arrest and death, a study shows for the first time. The study, published in the American Heart Association's journal, looked at eight cases involving the Taser X26 ECD; of those eight cases, seven people died. The electronic stun guns can cause an abnormally fast heart rate and contractions, which in turn can lead to cardiac arrest, a researcher found, according to Cincinnati.com.
A Taser manufacturer spokesperson dismissed the study, arguing that a larger sample should have been used. "There have been 3 million uses of Taser device uses worldwide," he says. The study "fails to accurately evaluate the risks versus the benefits of the thousands of lives saved by police with Taser devices." Police have long argued that Taser use helps to reduce fatalities and also keeps officers safe. But since 2001, 500 people have died after being stunned, according to Amnesty International, though medical examiners have ruled that the Taser contributed to the death in only a few dozen cases. (Read more Taser stories.)