Pathophysiology of Death | Anatomy2Medicine
Pathology medicine notes for MBBSstudents for aspirants who preparing for NEETPG, DNB CET, AIIMS and other medical exams. This is also a free pdf material download 2018. And here you Pathophysiology of Death get study material s of medical md entrance exams.

Pathophysiology of Death

  • Forensic thanatology deals with Medico legal study of death


  • Test of circulation


    • Magnus test
    • Icard’s test
    • Diaphanous test


  • Magnus test (outdated test) (Still asked as MCQ)
  • detects the stoppage of circulation


      • The test consisted of tying a string around one of the fingers of the supposedly dead man.
      • Test procedure
        • The pressure applied had to be just above that in venous channels, but just below that in arterial channels.
        • This would occlude the venous channels but not the arterial channels.
        • If the circulation was still maintained the finger distal to the ligature would swell.
    • Diaphanous test  (outdated test) (Still asked as MCQ)
      • It consisted of bringing before bright light the hand of a supposedly dead person.
      • The fingers were outstretched, and the bright light allowed to fall over the webs between the fingers.
      • If the person was alive, the circulation would still be continuing; consequently the webs would appear translucent and reddish in appearance.


  • If the person was dead and his circulation had stopped, the webs would appear opaque and yellowish.


    • Fingernail pressure test  (outdated test) (Still asked as MCQ)
      • It consisted of applying firm pressure over the fingernails.
      • If circulation was continuing, the fingernails would become pale on application of pressure, but would resume normal reddish appearance on release of pressure.


  • No such changes would be visible in a dead man.
  • Icard’s test (outdated test) (Still asked as MCQ)
  • detects the stoppage of circulation


    • It consisted of subcutaneous injection of a strongly  fluorescent compound. If the circulation was still going on, the whole skin would turn vivid yellow.
    • test   should be conducted only in daylight, as the yellow color was difficult to appreciate in the artificial light.
    • If the person was already dead, no such change would be seen
    • Winslow’s test  (outdated test) (Still asked as MCQ)
    • used to detect the stoppage of respiration
    • Test procedure
    • It consisted of keeping a small pot containing water or mercury over the thoraco-abdominal region (usually just at or below xiphisternum).
    • A ray of light was allowed to fall over the liquid.
    • If the respiration was taking place, the ray of light (over the surface of the liquid) would appear to move.


  • Feather test (outdated test) (Still asked as MCQ)


    • used to detect the stoppage of respiration
    • It consisted of holding before the nostrils a fine feather or a fine cotton fibre.
    • If respiration was continuing,, the feather would be seen to flicker.
  • Mirror test (outdated test) (Still asked as MCQ)
    • used to detect the stoppage of respiration
    • It consisted of placing a mirror over the front of the nose or mouth of the supposedly dead person.
    • If the person was still alive the mirror would turn hazy due to deposition of moisture on the mirror.
    • No such change would be seen in a dead man.
  • .”Tower of silence” is used by Parsees to dispose off dead body:
    1. Known also as “dakhma”, the “tower of silence” is a Parsi funerary tower erected on a hill for the disposal of the dead according to the Zoroastrian rite.
    2. After vultures have picked the bones clean, they fall into a pit below.
    3. This fulfils their belief that a corpse must not suffer contact with either fire or earth.
    • Zsako’s phenomenon (also known as Tendon reaction).(MCQ)


  • Contraction of the quadriceps femoris muscle on mechanical stimulation just after somatic death and before molecular death (i.e. within the supravital period)
  • Suspended animation (MCQ)


      • It is a state when signs of life are not found, although the person is alive
      • It is the name given to the time period during which a doctor is not allowed to conduct autopsies because of some temporary disability


  • Negative autopsy (MCQ)


    • An autopsy for which the gross and histologic findings do not provide an adequate cause of death
    • 2-5% are negative autopsies

Most common cause of sudden death due to CNS lesions is Subarachnoid or intracerebral haemorhage