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Is it normal for the body temperature to drop after death?

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Posted on Wed, 8 Apr 2015
Question: If someone had a fatal accident and sustained severe skull fracture and head injuries and was not discovered for 2 hours - would it be possible that they could have a core body temperature of 34c when found unconscious and not breathing and in cardiac arrest? Would you expect the temperature to be lower if they had the accident 2 hours prior? Do you think it more likely for them to have had the accident within a lesser amount of time before they were found if their temperature read at 34c? I am just trying to understand
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Answered by Dr. Olsi Taka (22 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
The temperature corresponds to the time.

Detailed Answer:
I read your question carefully and I am sorry if you have lost a loved one.

It is normal for the body temperature to drop after death until it reaches the temperature of the environment around it. This drop is a gradual one, it has been calculated by approximately 1.5°C for every hour.

So since normal human body temperature is around 37°C, that body temperature of 34°C would correspond to the supposed times of 2 hours (a 3°C drop).

I hope this was the answer you needed.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Dr. Olsi Taka

Neurologist

Practicing since :2004

Answered : 3674 Questions

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Is it normal for the body temperature to drop after death?

Brief Answer: The temperature corresponds to the time. Detailed Answer: I read your question carefully and I am sorry if you have lost a loved one. It is normal for the body temperature to drop after death until it reaches the temperature of the environment around it. This drop is a gradual one, it has been calculated by approximately 1.5°C for every hour. So since normal human body temperature is around 37°C, that body temperature of 34°C would correspond to the supposed times of 2 hours (a 3°C drop). I hope this was the answer you needed.