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Type: Journal article
Title: Hemolytic staining of the intima of the aortic root in freshwater drowning - A retrospective study
Author: Tsokos, M.
Cains, G.
Byard, R.
Citation: American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology, 2008; 29(2):128-130
Publisher: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Issue Date: 2008
ISSN: 0195-7910
Statement of
Michael Tsokos, Glenda Cains, and Roger W. Byard
Abstract: A retrospective study was conducted of files at the Institute of Legal Medicine in Hamburg, Germany from 1998 to 2003 of all cases of drowning where there was no putrefaction, to document the rate of recording of hemolytic staining of the intima of the great vessels. All cases had full police investigations with reviews of previous histories, circumstantial evidence, and autopsy findings. A series of control subjects who had died of various natural and nonnatural, nondrowning deaths, matched for age, sex, and postmortem interval, was also reviewed. One hundred twenty cases of freshwater drowning were identified. Drowning occurred in a garden pool in 1 case, in a bath in 2, and in the river Elbe in 117. The age range was from 2 to 91 years (mean = 55 years; M:F = 1:1.8). Hemolytic intimal staining of the aortic root was documented in 6 cases (6 of 120; 5%). This consisted of reddened discoloration of the proximal portion of the aortic root, without any significant staining of the proximal pulmonary artery. No significant hemolytic staining of the intima of the great vessels was recorded in any of the 120 control cases. Although under-reporting of findings may occur in retrospective analyses, this study has shown that at least 5% of freshwater drowning cases showed differential staining of the pulmonary trunk and aorta, with hemolytic discoloration of the aortic intima. When present, hemolytic staining of the aortic root intima may be a useful and possibly under-recognized corroborative sign of freshwater drowning.
Keywords: freshwater drowning; hemolytic staining; aortic root
RMID: 0020080848
DOI: 10.1097/PAF.0b013e318173efed
Appears in Collections:Pathology publications

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