Postmortem Caloricity

INTRODUCTION:
  • It is a condition where there is rise of body temperature after death instead of cooling of body.
  • Although the process of postmortem glycogenolysis, which occurs in all bodies soon after death, can produce up to 140 calories which can rise the body temperature by about 2 degrees, yet the temperature shows further rise in all such conditions, e.g. asphyxial death, poisoning due to alcohol, dhatura and strychnine, brain-stem hemorrhage, deaths due to infectious diseases, etc.
ETIOLOGY:
  • Violent muscular contractions before death
  1. Tetanus
  2. Strychnine poisoning
  3. Seizures
  • Asphyxial deaths - strangulation
  • Septicemic deaths - cholera and other infections
  • Death due to temperature regulation disorders
  • Sun stroke
  • Pontine haemorrhage
  • Postmortem glycogenolysis
  • Normal phenomenon; increase of up to 2ÂșC.
  • Causes of death
  1. Septicemia:Infectious disease;Bacteremia;Tetanus, rabies, yellow fever;
  2. Asphyxia;
  3. Severe convulsions:Tetanus;Strychnine;
  4. Hyperpyrexia at death:Heat stroke (sun stroke);Pontine haemorrhage High atmospheric temperature;
  5. Peritonitis, meningitis, nephritis;
  6. Alcohol poisoning.
Exam Question
  • Postmortem caloricity is seen in Strychnine poisoning 
  • Postmortem caloricity is seen in death due to Sunstroke, Septicemia & Tetanus
  • Postmortem caloricity is increased temp within 2 hours of death

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