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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Found deceased slumped over face with dark pigmentation and cold body. What is going on?

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Dr. Anil Grover

Cardiologist

Practicing since :1981

Answered : 922 Questions

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Posted on Sat, 22 Dec 2012 in Hypertension and Heart Disease
Question: I found someone deceased slumpped over face down....when turned over by paramedics his face was dark purple almost black.....lips were close to black....paramedics say possibly arythmia....why the dark colored face? What did this person die of? And why? Also, when I found this person his body was cool to the touch.....how long had he been gone?
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Answered by Dr. Anil Grover 1 hour later
Hi XXXXXXX
Thanks for writing in.
I am a qualified and certified cardiologist and I read your mail with diligence.
You have had some experience! Coming straight to your questions:
1. In Arrhythmia, death occurs suddenly. The heart stops to pump blood in contraction phase (systole) or filling phase (Diastole). If it stops at a time when blood without oxygen is entering the lungs for getting oxygen. Most of the blood in the human body will be deoxygenated (for some organs keep on extracting oxygen from blood even after heart has stopped), deoxygenated blood is dark in colour. Hence you saw a black coloured almost dark purple face of the deceased. Causes for arrhythmia are many and arrhythmia is most important cause of death(even without heart attack pain) in heart attack. In fact, even in countries with best medical response teams one fourth of the patients with heart attack are not able to reach hospital because arrhythmia is first (and last) manifestation of heart attack.
2.Temperature of human body falls at a rate depending upon temperature of surroundings. For room temperature, the average fall in temperature is about one degree celsius per hour. Assuming your body temperature was normal 37 degrees celsius, he must be 34 degrees so my guess would be at least 3 hours after death, the body was touched by you.
I hope that answers your questions. Good luck.
With Best Wishes. If you have a query I wll be most happy to answer it.

Regards
Dr Anil Grover,
Cardiologist
M.B.;B.S, M.D. (Internal Medicine) D.M.
(Cardiology)http://www/ WWW.WWWW.WW
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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