Document Detail

Postmortem lung weight in drownings: a comparison with acute asphyxiation and cardiac death.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  12935646     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
There are several controversial findings and arguments about the lung weight as a marker of drowning. The aim of the present study was to examine the difference in the lung weight and the amount of pleural effusion between freshwater and saltwater drownings (n=70 and n=75, respectively), in comparison with asphyxiation (n=85) and acute cardiac death (n=82), for the diagnosis of drowning. In drowning cases, a gradual postmortem time-dependent decrease in the lung weight and a reciprocal increase in the pleural effusion suggested postmortem transudation from the lungs. The decrease in the total value of the combined lung weight and the amount of pleural effusion was marked in saltwater immersion after 3 days postmortem, suggesting a leakage of the effusion out of the thoracic cavity under an osmotic effect of the immersion medium. In cases within 3 days postmortem, when the combined lung weight and amount of pleural effusion were added to estimate possible combined lung weight at the time of death, there was a gross difference among the causes of death: the value was the largest in saltwater drowning, followed by freshwater drowning, acute cardiac death and asphyxiation. However, the value depended on the gender and age of the subjects, suggesting a relation to the individual physical constitution and survival time or vital activity. These factors should be taken into consideration in evaluation of the lung weight in the diagnosis of drownings.
Bao-Li Zhu; Li Quan; Dong-Ri Li; Mari Taniguchi; Yasunobu Kamikodai; Kohei Tsuda; Masaki Q Fujita; Katsuji Nishi; Tsutomu Tsuji; Hitoshi Maeda
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Comparative Study; Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Legal medicine (Tokyo, Japan)     Volume:  5     ISSN:  1344-6223     ISO Abbreviation:  Leg Med (Tokyo)     Publication Date:  2003 Mar 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2003-08-25     Completed Date:  2003-12-04     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  100889186     Medline TA:  Leg Med (Tokyo)     Country:  Ireland    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  20-6     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Legal Medicine, Osaka City University Medical School, Asahi-machi 1-4-3, Abeno, Osaka 545-8585, Japan.
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MeSH Terms
Aged, 80 and over
Asphyxia / diagnosis*,  pathology
Cause of Death
Data Interpretation, Statistical
Drowning / diagnosis*,  pathology
Fresh Water
Heart Arrest / diagnosis*,  pathology
Lung / pathology*
Middle Aged
Organ Size
Time Factors

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