Estimation of time since death from histological changes in hepatic cords and hepatic lobules of human liver

Dr. Shrikant Verma, Dr. M. Goyal, Dr. Praveen Kurrey, Dr. Laxmi Paikra

Estimation of time since death is one of the most important object of postmortem examination. Time passed since death continues to be a major problem for the forensic pathologist and its determination plays an important and vital issue in medicolegal cases because of the fact that forensic experts are very often required to answer questions relating to time of death in the courts of law.1,2  Present study 30 human livers from cadaver were taken  directly from the dead bodies during postmortem examination from Dr. B.R. Ambedkar  Memorial  Hospital Raipur (C.G.) in close association with Department of  Forensic Medicine & Toxicology and Pathology.  In the present study histological changes in architecture of hepatic lobule and hepatic cords and arrangement of hepatocytes of human liver were examined. Increasing  expansion  of  hepatic  lobules were seen in  relation to time after death and after 44hrs Post Moertem Ineterval (PMI) at 23.3-30.5°C disorganization of hepatic lobules were observed. Fragmentation of hepatic cords was observed after 13.30 hrs PMI at 29.1-43.1°C adjacent to central vein and  was  progressive in hepatic cords adjacent to portal  triad in relation  to time  passage. Hepatic   cords in subcapsular region were observed intact till 39.40hrs PMI at 24.3-32.2°C and there was complete fragmentation of hepatic cords with scattered hepatocytes after  44hrs PMI at 23.3-30.5°C. Hepatic lobules were not identifiable after 46 hrs PMI at 23.3 to 30.5 ⁰C. Thus Postmortem histological changes were directly dependant on not only the length of post-mortem time but also, to a bigger extent, on the temperature of environment.

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