Chidanand C1, Satish K. V2
OBJECTIVES: An autopsy study of deaths due to drowning with special reference to middle ear hemorrhage and spleen findings was done.
METHODS: Data were collected from the police, relatives, and photographic evidences from the scene, postmortem findings and chemical analysis /histopathological examinations representative control groups. 101 cases of drowning deaths were studied.
RESULTS: The presence of froth, wrinkling, bleaching, soddening, overlapping of anterior margin of lungs, antemortem ingestion of water and postmortem aquatic bite marks were seen in 58%, 83%, 59%, 23%, 52%, 45% and 8% of cases respectively. Middle ear hemorrhage was seen in 72.27% of cases with an odd's ratio of 23.73 and it increased with increase in duration and depth of submersion. The mean organ weights observed in the drowning group were 1112.54±295.01, 1208.84±264.60, 121.68±53.28, 361.96±99.59gms for the combined lung, liver, spleen and combined kidney respectively; the increase in lung and kidney weight were statically significant and a 16% drop in the spleen weight seen after a postmortem interval of >24 hours was statistically insignificant
CONCLUSION: Males and the young population constituted the bulk and more than half of the deaths were unintentional and a significant number died in drainages. A good number of drowning deaths are preventable.