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Forensic Histopathological Approach to Electrocution

Authors: Muthana Abdul- Jabar Abdullah --- Nabeel Ghazi Hashim Al-Khateeb --- Raji Hussein Mohammad Al-Hadithi
Journal: Journal of the Faculty of Medicine مجلة كلية الطب ISSN: 00419419 / 24108057 Year: 2008 Volume: 50 Issue: 3 Pages: 358-364
Publisher: Baghdad University جامعة بغداد


Background: Few Studies had been done on the role of histopathology in the medico-legal
diagnosis of Electrocution even abroad.
Aim of the study: To determine the main histopathlogical features in cases of electrocution
especially at the entry site of the electrical current which help in the diagnosis of those cases.
Methods: A full medico-legal autopsy had been done on 64 cadavers of persons died as a
result of electrocution chosen randomly out of a total number of 144 cases of electrocution
during the year 2005 in the medico-legal institute of Baghdad including histopathological
examination by ordinary method of different specimens from those cadavers at histopathology
department of the mentioned institute to reach the aim of this study.
Results: Electrocution constituted only 1.4% of all causes of death during the year 2005 in the
medico-legal institute of Baghdad. Males were more than females in a ratio of 2:1. The most
affected age group was 30- 39 years old. In 62% of the case the entry of the current was with
no exit. In 46.9% of the cases the entry site was in the form of charged centre surrounded by
gray elevated area and took other shapes in the rest of the cases. Microvesicural formation was
the commonest histopathological finding in the skin. Pulmonary edema was the commonest
histopathological finding in the lung.
Conclusions: Although they are non specific, histopatological features could help the forensic
pathologist in the medico-legal diagnosis of electrocution in addition with other findings
especially in cases with less typical gross features or with incomplete information about the
case, in addition to other conclusions of the study.

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