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



Algor mortis is interpreted from Latin together “cold death” and describes the postmortem temperature readjust after someone has died. After ~ death, people no longer create body heat or cooling mechanisms and the decedent temperature slowly approaches approximately temperature. This change is based upon the assumption that body temperature was typical at the moment of death and also includes both temperatures above and listed below normal living body temperature, 98.7 F. Rectal temperature are commonly used as the typical to identify the decedent temperature and also algor mortis.<1>

Issues of Concern

Algor mortis has been used as a device to estimate the postmortem interval in between death and also the discovery of an individual who has died. This is especially important in medicolegal and forensic death investigations. However, plenty of variables affect the rate and direction the algor mortis and also complicate its usage in estimating time that death.

Studies have presented that the body mass index influences cooling rates, however only 36% of situations were in a linear progression end time also in a controlled ambient temperature.<2> Temperature alters of the decedent are likewise influenced by approximately temperature changes, climate, clothing, and exposure to water. Formulas space in breakthrough to recognize the postmortem interval more accurately for medicolegal investigations. Over there are complicated algorithms that take many variables to identify postmortem interval. Advance of much faster formulas based upon the level that decomposition, humidity, and also temperature (algor mortis) would have a significant impact ~ above investigations. Few of these formulas end up being less exact at higher temperatures and significantly overestimate, and also cold temperatures significantly underestimate the postmortem interval.<3> Climate variables as well as ambient temperature considerably influence decedent algor mortis and decomposition rate. In some studies, developed equations for estimation that postmortem interval were 10% exactly in indoor fatality scenes at one location and also 60% in ~ another.<4>

Clinical Significance

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

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Igari Y, Hosokai Y, Funayama M. Rectal temperature-based fatality time estimation in infants. Foot Med (Tokyo). 2016 Mar;19:35-42.
Wardak KS, Cina SJ. Algor mortis: an erroneous measurement complying with postmortem refrigeration. J Forensic Sci. 2011 Sep;56(5):1219-21.
Cockle DL, Bell LS. Human being decomposition and also the reliability of a "Universal" model for write-up mortem expression 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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