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StatPearls . Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-.


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Definition/Introduction

Algor mortis is translated from Latin together “cold death” and describes the postmortem temperature readjust after someone has died. ~ death, individuals no longer produce body heat or cooling mechanisms and also the decedent temperature slowly approaches ambient temperature. This variable is based upon the assumption that human body temperature was normal at the moment of death and also includes both temperatures above and listed below normal living body temperature, 98.7 F. Rectal temperatures are typically used as the traditional to recognize the decedent temperature and also algor mortis.<1>


Issues that Concern

Algor mortis has been used as a tool to estimate the postmortem interval in between death and the discovery of an separation, personal, instance who has actually died. This is especially important in medicolegal and forensic death investigations. However, many variables impact the rate and also direction the algor mortis and also complicate its usage in estimating time that death.

Studies have presented that the human body mass index influences cooling rates, but only 36% of cases were in a straight progression end time even in a controlled ambient temperature.<2> Temperature transforms of the decedent are likewise influenced by ambient temperature changes, climate, clothing, and exposure to water. Formulas room in advancement to recognize the postmortem interval more accurately for medicolegal investigations. There are complicated algorithms that take countless variables to recognize postmortem interval. Advancement of faster formulas based on the level that decomposition, humidity, and temperature (algor mortis) would have a far-ranging impact top top investigations. Few of these formulas end up being less exact at higher temperatures and significantly overestimate, and cold temperatures considerably underestimate the postmortem interval.<3> Climate variables besides ambient temperature significantly influence decedent algor mortis and decomposition rate. In part studies, emerged equations for estimation the postmortem interval to be 10% exactly in indoor fatality scenes in ~ one location and also 60% in ~ another.<4>


Clinical Significance

Determination that algor mortis changes alone is not enough in determining postmortem interval. However, it remains vital variable in defining equations and formulas to estimate time of fatality in medicolegal fatality investigations.

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Igari Y, Hosokai Y, Funayama M. Rectal temperature-based death time estimation in infants. Leg Med (Tokyo). 2016 Mar;19:35-42.
Wardak KS, Cina SJ. Algor mortis: one erroneous measurement adhering to postmortem refrigeration. J Forensic Sci. 2011 Sep;56(5):1219-21.
Cockle DL, Bell LS. Human decomposition and also the dependability of a \"Universal\" model for write-up mortem interval estimations. Forensic Sci Int. 2015 Aug;253:136.e1-9.
Maile AE, Inoue CG, Barksdale LE, Carter DO. Towards a universal equation to calculation postmortem interval. Forensic Sci Int. 2017 Mar;272:150-153.

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