Document Detail

Intramuscular bleeding of the tongue in the victims of house fire.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  12935624     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Intramuscular bleeding of the tongue is frequently observed in autopsy cases of house fire victims. The meaning of this finding has not yet been fully discussed. We examined 69 autopsy cases of house fire victims and investigated several factors contributing to intramuscular bleeding of the tongue. Victims comprised 45 males and 24 females, ranging in age from 1 to 95 years old. Sixty-four cases (93%) involved severely charred bodies, while the remaining five bodies displayed slight burns. Factors studied were age, sex, posture of the body at the scene of the fire, degree of burn injury and carboxyhemoglobin (CO-Hb) levels in blood. CO-Hb level proved to be the only factor relevant to intramuscular bleeding of the tongue. Of 69 autopsy cases, 23 (33%) demonstrated intramuscular bleeding of the tongue (13 cases of slight bleeding, ten cases of severe bleeding). Low concentrations of CO-Hb (</=30%) were observed in six of ten cases (60%) with severe intramuscular bleeding. Of 46 cases without intramuscular bleeding, ten (22%) displayed low concentrations of CO-Hb. These results may indicate that severe burn injuries occurring before inhaling air containing high levels of carbon monoxide represent the cause of intramuscular bleeding of the tongue in fire victims. The burned regions of the body in the early stage of the fire process were unclear due to severe charring in most victims. However, asphyxiation due to neck compression is known to often induce intramuscular bleeding of the tongue. Lack of skin elasticity following burns, particularly in the neck, might act in a similar manner to asphyxial neck compression. In conclusion, intramuscular bleeding of the tongue in fire victims may occur as a vital reaction to burns.
Yoshiaki Hashimoto; Fumio Moriya; Akinori Nakanishi
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Legal medicine (Tokyo, Japan)     Volume:  5 Suppl 1     ISSN:  1344-6223     ISO Abbreviation:  Leg Med (Tokyo)     Publication Date:  2003 Mar 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2003-08-25     Completed Date:  2003-12-03     Revised Date:  2004-11-17    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  100889186     Medline TA:  Leg Med (Tokyo)     Country:  Ireland    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  S328-31     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Legal Medicine, Kochi Medical School, Kohasu, Oko-cho, Nankoku City, Kochi 783-8505, Japan.
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MeSH Terms
Aged, 80 and over
Carboxyhemoglobin / analysis*
Child, Preschool
Hemorrhage / pathology*
Middle Aged
Tongue / pathology*
Reg. No./Substance:

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