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Hypothermia: a natural cause of death.

Authors
  • Ward, M E
  • Cowley, A R
Type
Published Article
Journal
The American journal of forensic medicine and pathology
Publication Date
Dec 01, 1999
Volume
20
Issue
4
Pages
383–386
Identifiers
PMID: 10624935
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Deaths due to hypothermia are usually accidental and are the result of exposure to extreme environmental temperatures. Often these individuals are intoxicated, elderly, or exposed to severe cold temperatures. We report the case of a blind, nonambulatory, elderly man who was found alive in his home in an unresponsive state. Core body temperature at hospital was 24 degrees C (75 degrees F). At autopsy, punctate hemorrhages were present in the stomach mucosa. A 4- x 7-cm pituitary adenoma extended from a dilated sella turcica, obliterated the optic chiasm, and compressed the base of the brain in the region of the hypothalamus. Compression in this region of the brain would disrupt the temperature regulatory function of the hypothalamus and create an individual who would be susceptible to minor fluctuations in ambient temperature. The manner of death was designated as natural. This is an unusual presentation of a pituitary adenoma in the current era of advanced imaging techniques in which microadenomas are often detected and treated.

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