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heat haematomaJoe Segen2016-12-16T01:25:54+00:00
An often bilateral pool of blood seen in the extradural space which occurs in response to severe heating of the skull in a fire.
It is often accompanied by burning of the scalp, and simulates antemortem extradural/epidural haematomas–which are typically caused by trauma. In heat haematomas, the brain itself may show heat-related changes and the hematoma is irregular and friable rather than jelly-like with smooth margins, as seen in a proper extradural haematoma.
Carboxyhaemoglobin is present in the clot and correlates with the levels of carboxyhaemoglobin in peripheral blood. Heat haematomas are “normal” postmortem findings in contrast to extradural haematomas, which are caused by trauma and thus forensically significant.
Reference Payne-James J, Busuttil A, and Smock WS, Forensic Medicine: Clinical and Pathological Aspects (2003), Cambridge University Press.