A Pilot Study on the Diagnosis of Fatal Electrocution by the Detection of Myocardial Microhemorrhages.

Journal of Forensic Sciences
Guendalina GentileRiccardo Zoja


In electrocutions, death may be caused by alterations in the heart conduction system provoking ventricular fibrillation. This study aims to identify histological cardiac markers of high- and low-voltage electrocution. Two groups of decedents were evaluated: group A included 14 fatalities caused by high- or low-voltage electrocution and group B (control) included 14 fatalities due to other traumatic or disease causes. Myocardial sampling with microscopic examination was performed on all the hearts using the hematoxylin and eosin and Masson's trichrome stains to investigate morphological characteristics that could indicate the damage caused by high- and low-voltage electrocutions. Interstitial myocardial hemorrhagic infiltration was the only differentiating finding, which was shown only in high-voltage electrocution. This pathological finding has not been previously reported, and it may be specific to high-voltage electrocution deaths. Further studies are warranted.


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