Hypothermia

  • Reinhard B. Dettmeyer
Chapter

Abstract

Fatalities due to hypothermia occur primarily, but not exclusively, during the cold season and produce findings that can also be identified histopathologically, such as Wischnewski spots in the gastric mucosa. Other findings that form during the hypothermic process are only frequent on microscopy but cannot always be demonstrated, e.g., fat vacuoles in the renal tubular epithelial cells, as well as in the cytoplasm of cardiomyocytes; in the case of the latter, however, it is important to distinguish between fat vacuoles and lipofuscin deposits. Hypothermia-related microthrombi in internal organs, primarily evident in peripheral vascular branches of the mesenteric vessels, can only be detected using microscopy, much like microhemorrhages in pancreatic tissue. Findings of this kind, however, can yield important, indeed compelling information pointing to death due to hypothermia. Intracytoplasmic vacuoles in the pancreatic epithelium have also been described in hypothermia deaths, as has a level of colloid depletion within the thyroid follicles, even though the validity of these findings is controversial in some cases.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Reinhard B. Dettmeyer
    • 1
  1. 1.University Hospital Giessen Institute of Forensic MedicineGiessenGermany

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