Elevated body core temperature in medico-legal investigation of violent death

Demierre, Nadine; Wyler, Daniel; Zollinger, Ulrich; Bolliger, Stephan; Plattner, Thomas (2009). Elevated body core temperature in medico-legal investigation of violent death. American journal of forensic medicine & pathology, 30(2), pp. 155-8. Hagerstown, Md.: Wolters Kluwer Lippincott Williams & Wilkins 10.1097/PAF.0b013e31819a04a6

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Pathologically elevated body core temperature, measured at the death scene, is an important finding in medico-legal investigation of violent deaths. An abnormally high rectal temperature at any death scene may point to an underlying pathology, the influence of certain drugs or a hidden cerebral traumatism, and death by suffocation which would remain undetected without further medico-legal investigations. Furthermore, hyperthermia and fever, if unrecognized, may result in an erroneous forensic estimation of time since death in the early postmortem period by the "Henssge method." By a retrospective study of 744 cases, the authors demonstrate that hyperthermia is a finding with an incidence of 10% of all cases of violent death. The main causes are: influence of drugs, malignant tumors, cerebral hypoxia as a result of suffocation, infections, and systemic inflammatory disorders. As a consequence it must be stated, that hyperthermia must be excluded in every medico-legal death scene investigation by a correct measurement of body core temperature and a comparison between the cooling rate of the body and the behavior of early postmortem changes, notably livor and rigor mortis.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute of Legal Medicine > Forensic Medicine
04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute of Legal Medicine > Forensic Imaging

UniBE Contributor:

Bolliger, Stephan

ISSN:

0195-7910

Publisher:

Wolters Kluwer Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Submitter:

Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 15:13

Last Modified:

17 Jul 2014 11:08

Publisher DOI:

10.1097/PAF.0b013e31819a04a6

PubMed ID:

19465806

Web of Science ID:

000266483100008

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/32307 (FactScience: 197370)

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