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Changes After Death - Dr. Raid Jastania


Changes After Death. DecompositionWhy do we need to know:Not to misinterpret these changesHelp to determine time (place) of death. Early Changes. No breathing, no circulationFall in blood pressureMetabolism gradually stopsLoss of neoronal activityNo reflexes, no corneal reflex, fixed dilated

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Changes After Death

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Changes after death l.jpg

Changes After Death

Dr. Raid Jastania


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Changes After Death

  • Decomposition

  • Why do we need to know:

    • Not to misinterpret these changes

    • Help to determine time (place) of death


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Early Changes

  • No breathing, no circulation

  • Fall in blood pressure

  • Metabolism gradually stops

  • Loss of neoronal activity

    • No reflexes, no corneal reflex, fixed dilated pupils, eye looses the tension


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Early Changes

  • Primary Flaccidity: complete loss of tone

  • Muscle may be still reactive for hours (focal twitching)

  • Pale skin and conjunctiva

  • Face may remain blue/red

  • ?? Hair continues to grow

  • Loss of sphincter action: pass urine, semen, regurgitation of food


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Rigor Mortis

  • Lack of oxygen – no energy – no ATP – glycolysis – lactic acid – acidic cytoplasm – actin and myocin bind

  • “Stiff Muscle”

  • Factors affects Rigor Mortis:

    • Level of glycogen

    • Level of lactic acid

    • Body built

    • Temperature, weather


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Rigor Mortis

  • What is Rigor mortis like if death occurs after

    • exercise,

    • electric shock,

    • in infant,

    • in elderly

    • In summer

    • In winter


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Rigor Mortis

  • Starts in small muscle around eyes and mouth, jaw, fingers,

  • Then spreads from head to legs

  • Estimated time of death:

    • In face: 1-4 hours

    • Limbs: 4-6 hours

    • Increase in strength for the next 6-12 hours

    • Decomposition starts

    • Secondary flaccidity from 24-50 hours


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Rigor Mortis

  • Body feels warm & Flaccid: <3 hours

  • Body feels warm & Stiff: 3-8 hours

  • Body feels cold & stiff: 8-36 hours

  • Body feels cold & flaccid: > 36 hours


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Cadaveric Rigidity

  • Forensic rarity

  • Stiffness of muscle occurring immediately at time of death

    • Finding items in hands

    • ?emotional/physical stress at death


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Post Mortem Hypostasis (Lividity)

  • No circulation, relaxation of blood vessels

  • Blood moves to dependent area

  • Positioning of body: supine, prone, on side, on head, hanging

  • Pink-blue color of the dependent area

  • May not be apparent in infants, elderly, anemic

  • Difficult to see in dark skin, jaundice


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Post Mortem Hypostasis (Lividity)

  • Blanching:

    • Around face (not asphyxia)

  • Color:

    • Pink – deep pink – blue – purple

    • Cheery pink: in carbon monoxide poisoning

    • Dark red: in cyanide poisoning

    • In hypothermia: pink around large joints

  • Movement of body and change in lividity!


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Cooling of the body after Death

  • Physical property

  • Assumptions:

    • Temperature was 37 at the time of death

    • Thermally static environment


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Cooling of the body after Death

  • Variables:

    • Mass of body

    • Surface area

    • Body temperature at death

    • Site of reading

    • Posture

    • Clothing

    • Environment temperature

    • Winds, humidity, rain


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Estimation of the time of Death

  • Body temperature

    • Rectal, ears, nose, liver

    • Henssge’s Nomogram

      • Body temperature

      • Ambient temperature

      • Body weight

  • Other methods

    • Gastric contents

    • Entomologist

    • Anthropologist


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Decomposition

  • Air

  • Dry, wet

  • Water


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Putrefaction

  • The most common route of decomposition

  • Liquifaction of the soft tissue over time

  • The warmer the temperature, the earlier the process


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Putrefaction

  • Visible 3-4 days

  • Green discoloration in the right iliac fossa

  • Marbling of skin: linear branching ptterns of brown discoloration of skin

  • Blistering, skin sloughs off

  • Gas formation, swelling of body: face, abdomen, breast, genitalia


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Putrefaction

  • Increase internal pressure, protrusion of tongue, eyes,

  • Bloody fluids

  • Within a week: body cavity will burst

  • Tissue liquify


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Mummification

  • Dry condition, eg. Dessert

  • Drying and leathery body

  • Part or whole body


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Adipocere

  • Wet condition, water

  • Chemical change of body fat to waxy compound material

  • Pale, greasy semi fluid material, unpleasant smell

  • Firm waxy compound material: takes weeks to months to form


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Skeletalization

  • More quickly to occur on the surface than in burried body

  • Soft tissue will be absent by 2 years

  • Tendon, ligaments, hair nails may remain

  • By 5 years bone disarticulate


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Identification

  • Living: coma, amnesia, infancy, mental defect

  • Decomposed body

  • Following injury

  • Mass disasters


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Appearance

Height, weight

Hair color, length

Beard, moustache

Skin pigmentation

Ethnic background

Eye color

Clothing, jewellery

Tatoo, surgical scars

Injuries, deformities

Age:

Estimation

Ossification center

General Morphologic Features


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Fingerprint

  • Chance of identical finger print is: 1 in 64 million

  • Identical twins


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Teeth

  • Identification of person

  • Age

  • Bite marks


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Identification of origin of tissue

  • Why:

    • Blood, semen, saliva..

    • Come from suspect for victem

    • Match of human remains

    • Resolve paternity/maternity


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Identification of origin of tissue

  • DNA profiling:

    • Matching

    • Paternity, maternity

    • Sampling:

      • Nucleated cells: wbc, hair root bulb cells, sperms, buccal smear..


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Identification of origin of tissue

  • Human Remains

    • Are they human

    • Is it one or more bodies

    • Sex: skull, pelvis

    • Age

      • Up to 20-25 years, age can be estimated within couple of years

      • >25 years more difficult to estimate