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06.01.2017 | Original Article | Ausgabe 3/2017

International Journal of Legal Medicine 3/2017

Anterior wrist and medial malleolus as the novel sites of tissue selection: a retrospective study on electric shock death through the hand-to-foot circuit pathway

Zeitschrift:
International Journal of Legal Medicine > Ausgabe 3/2017
Autoren:
Guangtao Xu, Ruibing Su, Junyao Lv, Bo Hu, Huan Gu, Xianxian Li, Jiang Gu, Xiaojun Yu
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1007/​s00414-016-1527-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Guangtao Xu and Ruibing Su contributed equally to this work.
Jiang Gu and Xiaojun Yu are joint senior authors on this work.

Abstract

Our previous work demonstrated that characteristic changes could occur in the anterior wrist and medial malleolus in electric deaths through the hand-to-foot electric circuit pathway in an electric shock rat model. However, whether the same phenomenon occurs in humans is unknown. The aim of the present retrospective study was to ascertain whether the anterior wrist and medial malleolus could also be selected as the promising and significant sites in electric death through the hand-to-foot circuit pathway. Nineteen human cases from the autopsy and one clinical survivor who sustained a severe electric shock through the hand-to-foot circuit pathway were analyzed. Additional ten autopsy patients who died from traffic accidents and sudden cardiac attacks were used as the control group. Histopathological changes in the soft tissues of the anterior wrist and medial malleolus in all autopsy patients, as well as the electric current pathway of the survivor, were observed. The results showed that the nuclear polarizations in the anterior wrist and medial malleolus soft tissues of the electric death were extremely noticeable as compared with the controls. The most severe electrical injury in the survivor occurred in the anterior wrist. These findings suggest that the soft tissues of the anterior wrist and/or the medial malleolus as the narrowest parts of the limbs could be used as the complementary sites for tissue selection and considered as necessary locations for examinations to assess the electric death in medicolegal identification.

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