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Cuadernos de Medicina Forense

versión On-line ISSN 1988-611Xversión impresa ISSN 1135-7606


ROMERO PALANCO, JL.. Deaths by Drowning: A classic topic in Forensic Medicine revisited. Cuad. med. forense [online]. 2007, n.48-49, pp.99-130. ISSN 1988-611X.

The recovery of a corpse from the water raises always multiple and varied questions, to which it is not possible to find an adequate answer in some occasions, in spite of the richness of signs that use to offer the cases of asphyxia by drowning. In this paper, a critical review and update of deaths by drowning is presented, taking into account the recent knowledge on the physiopathological alterations induced by these pictures, with special interest to the cases of bodies recovered of the water with "dry lungs ". The post-mortem findings are reviewed, as well as the histopathological and histoenzymatic studies. A wide review of the ancillary examinations from biology to tanatochemistry is also performed, stressing particularly the study of the chemical components (Strontium) and the diagnostic role that can represent the study of diatoms, with their possible causes of error. The diagnostic contributions that can made, in certain cases, the study of the ciliated protozoa, the green algae or the bacteriological analysis of blood are also analyzed. Other markers are object of consideration, specifically the study of the pulmonary surfactant that is opening new diagnostic ways in drowning cases. Finally, some considerations concerning the different procedures proposed for the establishment of the time of death are formulated.

Palabras clave : Forensic pathology; Drowning; Review.

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