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Indian Journal of Forensic Medicine & Toxicology
Year : 2019, Volume : 13, Issue : 1
First page : ( 25) Last page : ( 31)
Print ISSN : 0973-9122. Online ISSN : 0973-9130.
Article DOI : 10.5958/0973-9130.2019.00006.9

The Presence of Diatoms in Liver Tissue in Non Drowning Cases: An Autopsy based Study

Kartha Moumitha1, Ramakrishnan UK2,*, Balachandran Ajay3, Umadethan B4

1Assistant Professor, Department of Forensic Medicine, MES Medical College, Perinthalmanna

2Assistant Professor, Department of Forensic Medicine, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi

3Professor, Department of Forensic Medicine, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi

4Retired Professor, Department of Forensic Medicine, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi

*Corresponding author: Ramakrishnan UK Assistant Professor, Department of Forensic Medicine, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi, E-mail: drramakrishnan86@gmail.com

Online published on 8 February, 2019.

Abstract

Background

Diatom test is routinely used by forensic pathologists in cases of bodies recovered from water, to identify the cause of death and the site of drowning. Studies have shown the presence of diatoms in organs of non drowning deaths as well.

Aim

This study was done to study identify the presence of diatoms in the liver of non drowning deaths.

Materials and Method

A total of 75 non drowning cases autopsied at a teaching hospital and a non teaching hospital in central Kerala between July, 2011 and September, 2012 with known causes of death were included in the study. The sample comprised of 62 males (82.7%) and 13 females (17.3%). Variables such as age, sex, diet preference and source of drinking water were collected. The liver was subjected to acid digestion and the presence of diatoms in the liver as well as the type was recorded.

Analysis

This is a descriptive cross sectional study. Statistical analysis was done using the software IBM SPSS version 20.

Results

Diatoms were found in the liver in 49 cases (65.4%). There was no statistically significant relation between the presence and absence of diatoms and the sex, age, dietary habits or drinking water source. One significant observation was that the pennates were significantly larger than the centrales (p 0.001). The mere presence of diatoms in the liver cannot be taken as evidence of drowning.

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Keywords

Acid digestion technique, central, contaminant diatoms, diatom test, liver, non drowning deaths, pennate.

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