1. After death, the body cools from its normal internal temperature to the surrounding environmental temperature.
2. Body cooling is not an accurate method of predicting the postmortem interval.
3. At an ideal environmental temperature of 70 to 75°F the body cools at approximately 1 1/2 degrees Fahrenheit per hour in the early postmortem period.
4. If a decedent's body temperature were higher than normal because of infection or physical exercise, 98.6°F (37°C) is not an accurate starting point.
5. The outside environment determines the rate of cooling. Cooling occurs more quickly in the cold and may not occur in hot climates.
6. If body temperature is measured at the scene it should be taken on at least two separate occasions before the body is moved.
7. A rectal or liver temperature is the most accurate measurement.
8. The environmental temperature should be recorded. Eyes
If the eyes remain open after death, the will become cloudy within a few hours.
Was this article helpful?