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Nihon Hoigaku Zasshi. 1994 Dec;48(6):379-94.

[Some findings of the lung in medicolegal autopsy cases].

[Article in Japanese]

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Department of Legal Medicine, Gifu University School of Medicine, Japan.


"At first glance the lungs may seem uncomplicated, but many wise men have gone astray in their labyrinths." These words were written by Dr. A.A. Liebow, a famous pathologist, in a foreword to the first edition of Pathology of the Lung by H. Spencer. This same thought can also be applied to the field of medicolegal autopsies. 1. The gross appearance of the lungs in medicolegal autopsies Plucks consisting of the lungs, neck organs, the esophagus and the aorta were removed from human cadavers and after taking photos of the frontal and rear view, the lungs were carefully examined to reveal whether the lung shows characteristic morphological changes depending on causes of death. Based on their appearance, the lungs were classified into the 3 following types: a collapsed, a non-collapsed and an inflated type, each of these types reflecting the probable cause of death. The collapsed type of lung was seen in cases of death from exanguination, and the lung falling into shrinkage due to traumatic pneumo- and/or hemo-thorax was also classified into the collapsed type. The non-collapsed type of lung was seen in cases whose lungs were thermo-coagulated and in a case of death from a pulmonary embolism. Also, the deflating lungs of drowning victims before falling into collapse, were classified into a non-collapsed type. The inflated type of lung consisted of lungs that showed ballooning soon after death by drowning, and lungs that had inflated due to emphysema or edema from various causes. This lung study has reconfirmed that the lungs show hypostatic changes more clearly than any other organs of the body, and in the absence of skin color changes reflecting hypostasis, the settling of the blood in the lung could be detected in most cases. 2. Early histopathological lung changes induced by shock One hundred and thirty medicolegal cases were reviewed to detect early histopathological changes of the lung induced by shock. In many cases of death from various causes, pulmonary edema and hemorrhage were noted, but the incidence of such changes did not reveal any significant differences among the causes of death. When death had resulted from a hemorrhage or occurred during a state of shock, megakaryocytes in the pulmonary vessels tended to increase. However, if death from such causes had occurred shortly after the event, no increase in megakaryocytes was noted.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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