Terminal burrowing behaviour — a phenomenon of lethal hypothermia

  title={Terminal burrowing behaviour — a phenomenon of lethal hypothermia},
  author={Naomi Carter and M. A. Green and Christopher Mark Milroy and J. C. Clark and V. Schneider and Markus Alexander Rothschild},
  journal={International Journal of Legal Medicine},
Between 1978 and 1994, 69 cases of death due to lethal hypothermia were examined in our Institute. In addition to the common findings associated with hypothermia we especially wanted to examine the so-called paradox reaction which refers to the undressing of persons in a state of severe (lethal) hypothermia. This is obviously the result of a peripheral vasodilatation effecting a feeling of warmth. In our material this paradoxical undressing occurred in 25% of the cases and nearly all exhibited… 

Lethal hypothermia – a sometimes elusive diagnosis

The following discussion looks at the complexities of the hypothermia diagnosis and points out the gaps in knowledge which could result in under diagnosis.

Postmortem diagnosis of hypothermia

A review of the literature covering the significance of different postmortem investigations that are associated with hypothermia fatalities is presented, finding Immunohistochemistry, postmortem imaging, and molecular pathology have shown promising results, although at present, they do not provide pathognomonic signs of fatal hypotheria.

Thrombomodulin and catecholamines as post-mortem indicators of hypothermia

The results suggest that TM expression and secretion are altered by hypothermia, possibly linked to the actions of catecholamine, and evidence of ante-mortem cold stress in suspected Hypothermia deaths is provided.

Suspected paradoxical undressing in a homicide case

A 51-year-old man was found lying naked and inanimate on a road and police investigation led to the conviction of a man who confessed to having kicked and hit the victim and forced him to take off his clothes in a humiliation-related scenario.

Human Primitive Behavior

In dangerous, strenuous, or life-threatening situations, some behavioral patterns may occur that do not belong to the “normal” spectrum of human behavior. Among these are what is referred to here as

Homicide versus Hypothermia? An Unusual Case of Hypothermia Related to Colloid Cyst of the Third Ventricle

The case reiterates the importance of careful investigation and autopsy performance in cases that are suspicious for homicide, and represents a unique presentation of a colloid cyst of the third ventricle, a lesion that is familiar to forensic pathologists.

Fatal hypothermia: an analysis from a sub-arctic region

With the identification of groups at high risk for fatal hypothermia, it should be possible to reduce risk through thoughtful interventions, particularly related to the highest risk subjects (rural, living alone, alcohol-imbibing, and psychiatric diagnosis-carrying) citizens.

Biochemical background of ethanol-induced cold susceptibility.

Hypothermia and hyperthermia medicolegal investigation of morbidity and mortality from exposure to environmental temperature extremes.

New guidelines for forensic investigation into environmental temperature extremes that contribute to an important seasonal grouping of morbidity and mortality in the United States are reviewed.

Death following extreme temperature exposure: Histological, biochemical and immunohistochemical markers

Although this study did not find a specific microscopic marker, hepatocyte vacuolisation, the Armanni–Ebstein phenomenon and pancreatic CgA positivity, taken together, may be useful tools to confirm hypo- and hyperthermia-related deaths, in addition to circumstantial and macroscopic findings.



“Terminal burrowing behaviour” —a phenomenon of lethal hypothermia

The so-called paradox reaction which refers to the undressing of persons in a state of severe (lethal) hypothermia is examined to examine the result of a peripheral vasodilatation effecting a feeling of warmth.

"Paradoxical undressing" in fatal hypothermia.

It is concluded that paradoxical undressing might be explained by changes in peripheral vasoconstriction in the deeply hypothermic person.

Drugs and alcohol in hypothermia and hyperthermia related deaths: a retrospective study.

The fact that similar alcohol concentrations were found in both types of fatalities points to the poikilothermic effect of alcohol in humans, as found in animal studies.

Necropsy findings in fatal hypothermia cases.

Survival of hypothermia by men immersed in the ocean.

  • G. W. Molnar
  • Medicine
    Journal of the American Medical Association
  • 1946
Refrigeration of patients showed that man's body temperature may be reduced by several degrees without endangering life, but the environments employed during induction were too short duration to establish tolerance limits.

Hypothermia in the Elderly

  • E. Lloyd
  • Medicine
    Medicine, science, and the law
  • 1988
It is certainly true that in winter there is an increase in deaths from a number of causes and it is correct to say that these deaths are cold related but they are not all due to hypothermia, nor are they restricted to the elderly.

Myocardium of hypothermic rats with and without administration of dextran. Electrocardiographic and electron microscopic studies.

Electrocardiographic and electron microscopic alterations in the myocardium were investigated in rats subjected to hypothermia with and without injection of dextran, finding that neither advanced atrioventricular block nor remarkable subcellular structural changes developed.

The characteristic electrocardiogram of accidental hypothermia.

The case history and ECG of an elderly patient who became hypothermic as a result of a cerebrovascular accident and neglect is presented to emphasize the diagnostic value of the ECG in this condition.

A critical histopathologic study

Abstract 1.1. The histopathologic findings of 50 patients with malignant disease subjected to local, generalized, or combined refrigeration are compared to those of 37 closely analogous terminal

Tod durch Unterkühlung

The hemorrhaging of muscles in the core of the body (m. iliopsoas) as described by Dirnhofer and Sigrist was found once, this supposedly being a “relatively specific vital sign”.