Étude des mécanismes de décès des victimes d’avalanche dans les Alpes françaises, à partir d’une série de 25 observations autopsiques, radiologiques et anatomopathologiques

Abstract : Background: In the Alps, snow avalanches are a cause of death during leisure activity.The aim of our study is to determine causes and mechanisms of death in avalanches victims using autopsic, radiologic and anatomopathologic datas, and to confront them to land findings. Methods: An autopsy was done on 25 victims dead in an avalanche, completed with an anatomopathologic exam and a body scan for 7 of them. New stains have been developed to mark histologic signs of hypothermia. Avalanche circumstances datas have been collected from the survey file after the Republic Procuror’s authorization. Results: 18 (72%) victims died from asphyxia syndrom, 6 (24%) from a combination of asphyxia and trauma. The trauma alone was responsible for 1 death (4%). There was no case of death from hypothermia. All the victims presented a pulmonary oedema of variable intensity at the autopsy, which was also apparent on the thoracic CT-scan. A few fat degenerescence lesions were found in some of the victims, in relation with hypothermia lesions. Conclusions: Asphyxia is the main cause of death from avalanche. It can be associated with trauma lesions accelerating death process, or hypothermia lesions protecting the victims. A better understanding of death mechanisms could help to set up new rescue and reanimation strategies to improve victims care.
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Master Thesis
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Ségolène d'Alnoncourt. Étude des mécanismes de décès des victimes d’avalanche dans les Alpes françaises, à partir d’une série de 25 observations autopsiques, radiologiques et anatomopathologiques. Médecine humaine et pathologie. 2017. ⟨dumas-01621662⟩

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