Virchows Archiv A

, Volume 414, Issue 5, pp 415–422

Mechanism of death in avalanche victims

Authors

  • Helge Stalsberg
    • Department of PathologyN-9012 Tromsø University Hospital
  • Claus Albretsen
    • Department of PathologyN-9012 Tromsø University Hospital
  • Mads Gilbert
    • Department of AnesthesiologyN-9012 Tromsø University Hospital
  • Michael Kearney
    • Department of PathologyN-9012 Tromsø University Hospital
  • Einar Moestue
    • Department of PathologyN-9012 Tromsø University Hospital
  • Ivar Nordrum
    • Department of PathologyN-9012 Tromsø University Hospital
  • Morten Rostrup
    • Medical DepartmentUllevål Hospital
  • Anne Ørbo
    • Department of PathologyN-9012 Tromsø University Hospital
Article

DOI: 10.1007/BF00718625

Cite this article as:
Stalsberg, H., Albretsen, C., Gilbert, M. et al. Vichows Archiv A Pathol Anat (1989) 414: 415. doi:10.1007/BF00718625

Summary

The autopsies of 12 victims from two snow avalanches in North-Norway are reported. Supportive evidence from non-autopsied and surviving victims is included. Consistent autopsy findings were prominent lung oedema, moderate cerebral oedema, extreme contraction of the left ventricle, petechiae in the superior vena cava drainage area, and acute congestion in lungs and kidneys. In four cases in whom no resuscitation was attempted, aortic oxygen pressure was in the range expected in pure asphyxial-type deaths in one and in pure cardiac-type deaths in three. No air pocket was seen in front of the mouth and nose in any of the fatal cases. Three fatal cases had fractures. It is concluded that the immediate cause of death in most cases was general body compression with acute respiratory and circulatory failure.

Key words

AvalancheAsphyxiaAutopsyAccidentsTraumatology

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1989