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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Difference between respired and unrespired lungs (Live birth vs Dead Birth)

The knowledge whether a dead fetus was a still birth or died after coming into the environment (Live Birth) is very important in Forensic Science. This is important specially in countries where killing of neonate in the name of black magic is prevalent. Similarly, killing of female fetus/ newborn is also common in some part of the world. Killing a newborn is Crime in most part of the world and differentiation between the two can be made based upon the study of the lungs in the postmortem. 

Postmortem finding of a respired and unrespired lungs have many differences. The unrespired lungs is parenchymatous like a liver occupying lesser volume. Being condensed and no air particle inside it tends to sink in the water with density higher than that of water. 
Respired lungs on the other hand have spongy elastic appearance with lesser density and hence floats in water. It is expanded covering the heart and with respiration the cardiac circulation changes and the patency of the vessels is maintained making it ooze with frothy blood when cut into pieces.

The following are the characters based upon which the differentiation can be made between the two.

Character
Unrespired Lungs
Respired Lungs
Weight in relation to body weight
1/70
1/35
Volume
Small
Large and covers the heart
Consistency
Liver Like: Dense firm non crepitant
Soft, spongy, elastic, Crepitant
Extension
Up to the level of 4th and 5th rib
Up to the level of 6th and 7th rib
Specific gravity
1.04
0.94
Margin
Sharp
Rounded
Color
Uniform reddish
Mottled/ marbled appearance
Air vesicle
Not inflated
Inflated
Section
Little froth less blood exudates on pressure
Abundant frothy blood exudates
Breslow life test
Whole or part sinks
Expanded
Microscopy
Cuboidal lining

Squamous Epithelium

Blood vessel
Less patent
More Patent





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