Post Mortem findings and ID of a body Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Post Mortem findings and ID of a body Deck (26)
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What happens after death

Following cardiovascular failure, there is failure of oxygen delivery to the tissues resulting in cellular death.
Energy production ceases and the body cools.
The circulating blood becomes stagnant and settles under the effects of gravity.
The usual body defences fail and it can no longer inhibit the proliferation of bacteria - putrefaction ensues


What time frame gives the "timing of death"

First 18 hours


Factors which influence the rate of body cooling

Body temperature at the time of death: what is the usual temperature and can it vary?
Is the body clothed? What is the nature of the clothing?
Natural insulation of the body!
Convection currents
Environmental temperature


Can stomach emptying be used as a means of measuring time of death

Too many factors influence the rate at which the stomach empties, e.g. nature/amount of food, solids vs liquids, stress, certain medication


What is rigour mortis

Stiffening and shortening of muscle fibres leading to rigidity of the musculature and fixation of the joints


what causes rigour mortis

Due to the reduction of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) within the muscles after death


When does rigour mortis become apparent then established

Becomes apparent 5-7 hours after death
Usually full established by 8-12 hours after death


when does the body return to flaccid state

after 36 hours


What is the timing of rigor mortis susceptible to

biologically variability: ambient temperature,


What causes decomposition and Putrefaction

Caused by the action of bacterial micro-organisms; process begins at death, but takes a period of time to become detectable


What variables exist for bacterial micro - organisms decomposition of body

ambient temperature, humidity, “cleanliness” of the environment in which the body lies


What can be seen due to putrefaction of the superficial veins in the skin

Blister formation and tissue swelling, including gas formation in body cavities = Vascular “marbling”


Certain organs relatively resistant to putrefaction and their persistence can be valuable for what

identification purposes


What is mummification

A process of “dry” decomposition, with desiccation of the body and a relative lack of bacterial involvement
Body essentially “dries out”; the facial features and hands/feet may become rigid
Preservation may be remarkable


What is Adipocere formation

Induced by the alteration of fatty tissue within the body into a greasy/waxy or brittle material which frequently remains attached to the bony skeleton and may retain the body structure to some extent
Tends to occur in damp or wet environments, e.g. bodies recovered from water


What is Skeletonisation

The condition when all of the soft tissues of the body have completely degraded
The process is extremely variable: main variables are exposure to meat-eating animals (post mortem animal predation, e.g. rats) and to dipterous larvae


What radio types can be used to age bones

strontium and polonium


What is Post mortem Hypostasis

Represents the pooling of stagnant blood in dependent regions of the body under the influence of gravity more apparent on external than internal organs


When does Post mortem Hypostasis occur

Begins as soon as the circulation of blood ceases, but takes time to become visible, usually about 1-2 hours, and fully established by 6-12 hours


How is post mortem hypostasis useful

Not so useful as a means of timing death, but can be a great help in ascertaining the position of the body after death and can indicate if the body has been moved after death


What is it difficult to distinguish hypostasis against

haemorrhagic lividity i.e. when the head is hanging of the bed


What is the usually colour of hypostasis

Usually pink/purple in colour


What can cherry red hypostasis indicate

indicator of carbon monoxide poisoning


What can a red brown colour indicate

may be seen with methaemoglobin


What does Post mortem Artefacts

Alteration or damage to the body occurring after death which may mimic genuine processes occurring in life


Examples of post mortem artefacts

Resuscitation (cardiopulmonary resuscitation)
Animal predation (land and sea)
Traumatic injury (water, motor)

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