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Proteins (not all protein is liquid, consider the protein in hair and nails)
THREE MAJOR BIOCHEMICAL’S OF THE BODY
Bacteria that derive their nutrients from dead organic
An organelle that exists within a cell, (but separate from the cell). It contains hydrolytic enzymes that break down proteins and certain carbohydrates.
LYSOSOME (not lysine)
Self-destruction of the cells.
Destruction of the cells by water.
The single most important factor in the initiation of decomposition.
Hydrolysis is the first chemical reaction in the putrefactive process.
The end product of hydrolysis of proteins are amino acids
The hydrolytic process greatly increases the preservative demand.
Heat will speed hydrolysis, cold will slow hydrolysis.
A mildly acidic pH will promote hydrolysis.
indole, skatole, cadaverine, putrescine (they stink).
A basic nitrogenous organic compound produced by bacterial putrefaction of protein.
Amines that are considered to be derivatives of ammonia.
ptoma = greek for corpse.
skato = greek for dung.
The destruction of sugars by hydrolysis. (No effect on embalming).
The breakdown of carbohydrates and glucose. (No effect on
The process of soap formation. As related to decomposition, the conversion of fatty tissues of the body into a soapy, waxy, substance called adipocere or grave wax.
Is thought to be composed of fatty acids and appears in bodies that have been dead for an extended period.
ADIPOCERE (GRAVE WAX)
ORDER OF DECOMPOSITION
1. Soft tissues
2. Firm tissues
3. Hard tissues.
ORDER OF TISSUE DECOMPOSITION
Minimum temperature…..32 degrees F
Optimum temperature…..98 degrees F
Maximum temperature…128 degrees F
TEMPERATURE RANGE FOR DECOMPOSITION
2. Soft proteins
4. Hard proteins
ORDER OF DECOMPOSITION OF THE BODY COMPOUNDS
First – The lining membrane of the trachea and larynx.
(Except for the brain of an infant and the pregnant uterus.)
Last – The non-pregnant uterus or large blood vessels in
the male and female.
ORDER OF PUTREFACTION OF THE ORGANS
Ammonia, ammonium compounds, hydrogen, hydrogen
sulfide, mercaptan, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, water, methane, phosphoric acid and sulfuric acid.
END PRODUCTS OF DECOMPOSITION
The smell of rotten eggs
HYDROGEN SULFIDE & MERCAPTAN
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Increase preservative demand.
Often associated with renal failure.
AMMONIA & AMMONIUM COMPOUNDS
3. skin slip (desquamation)
4. gas formation
FIVE CLASSIC SIGNS OF DECOMPOSITION
Post mortem stain (hemolysis).
Marbling of the superficial veins (arteries are generally opaque, veins are generally transparent)
Greenish color on the lower right quadrant of the abdomen; caused by hydrogen sulfide (a product of decomposition) and hemoglobin.
Generally caused by the decomposition of proteins (proteolysis) which will create amines. ptomaine’s, mercaptan, and hydrogen sulfide.
The outer layers of the skin weaken because the deeper layers of the skin begin to decompose.
Hydrolysis of collagen and elastin cause superficial skin layers to pull away.
Blisters may form.
DESQUAMATION (skin slip)
Gas in the viscera occurs during general decomposition;
it begins the stomach or intestines (pm flatulence).
Gas gangrene caused by clostridium perfringens (am or
Gas and distention of the tissues brought about trauma or surgery.
Outside air trapped inside the body (am).
A cracking sound made by air trapped in the tissues associated with tissue gas and subcutaneous emphysema.
Evacuation of gasses, liquids, and semisolids from a
natural body orifice.
False purge (fluid purge)
A condition in which the manifestations of life are
The body of a deceased individual including cremated remains
Those elements remaining after cremation of a dead human
(do not use the word “cremains”; this word has been removed from the ABFSE embalming vocabulary)
A dead human body used for medical purposes including
Is the study of death
Thanatos / death… ology/ knowledge of
The post-mortem examination of the organs and tissues of
the body, to determine the cause of death
Another word for autopsy (it is more closely associated
with the post-mortem examination of other species)
Decomposition is the ultimate and indisputable sign of death.
Cessation of circulation
Cessation of respiration /
Complete muscular relaxation
SIGNS OF DEATH
· Clouding of the cornea
· Loss of luster of the conjunctiva
· Flattening of the eyeball
· Non responsive pupils
The cornea is the transparent part of the tunic of the eyeball that covers the iris and pupil
The cornea is the lens that admits light into the interior of the eye
The conjunctiva is the mucous membrane that lines the eyelid and covers the white portion of the eye
CHANGES IN THE EYE IS A SIGN OF DEATH
Any procedure used to prove a sign of death
There are expert tests, which are medical tests
There are inexpert tests, which are essentially historical
It is not the professional responsibility of the embalmer to administer tests for death.
Tests for death are done by those in the medical community as established by law and custom
TESTS FOR DEATH
Liquid dye test for circulation
Electronic monitors (eeg & ekg)
EXPERT TESTS FOR DEATH
Is a delicate instrument used to detect almost in audible sounds produced in the body.
Is an optical instrument with an accompanying light that makes it possible to examine the retina and to explore for blood circulation.
Are not commonly used today, fluorescein dye will turn the whites of the eye green, in a living person.
LIQUID DYE INJECTIONS
Are perhaps the most reliable expert test for death
The electrocardiogram (ekg) detects the electrical activity of the heart
The electroencephalogram (EEG) detects the electrical activity of the brain.
Checking for a pulse
Listening for breathing or heart beat
INEXPERT TESTS FOR DEATH ARE HISTORICAL
Ligate a finger (tightly), if it becomes discolored and swells, then life is present
Ammonia is injected hypodermically into the skin
The skin will show a reddish reaction if the body is alive
Use the radial artery or the carotid artery to check for a pulse
CHECKING FOR A PULSE