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January 2022

Keraunopathology: An analysis of 45 fatalities

Journal/Book: Amer J Foren Med Path. 1996; 17: 227 East Washington Sq, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Lippincott-Raven Publ. 89-98.

Abstract: An analysis of 45 victims of fatal lightning strike revealed the incident occurred most frequently in the early afternoon during midsummer in a field of one form or another. The scene of death, damage to clothing, and alterations of metallic objects on the victim are described. A terminal cardiac rhythm of ventricular fibrillation was recorded in half for whom data were available, and asystole was found in 40%. All but four had cutaneous injuries, and nearly one-third had pathognomonic patterns of erythematous arborization. When examined, tympanic membranes were found to be ruptured in > 80%. This study also revealed that craniocerebral injury and cardiac contusion can be serious direct consequences of lightning strike. A correlative approach to the investigation and autopsy of lightning victims is suggested.

Note: Article CV Wetli, Suffolk Cty Med Examiner Off, Bldg 487, N Cty Complex, Hamppauge, NY 11787 USA

Keyword(s): cutaneous injuries; keraunopathology; lightning strike; electrical injury; cardiac contusion; middle ear injury; cerebral trauma; MYOCARDIAL NECROSIS; RESUSCITATION

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