MOR 335 - Embalming I - Lesson 3.1 - Death Defined

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DMACC Mortuary Science Ankeny, Iowa
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1

Adipocere (Grave wax)

A wax-like material produced by saponification of body fat in a body buried in alkaline soil.

2

Aerobic

Characterized by the presence of free oxygen.

3

Agonal

The period of time immediately before death.

4

Agonal algor

Decrease in body temperature immediately before death.

5

Agonal coagulation

A change from a fluid into a thickened mass of blood immediately before death.

6

Agonal dehydration

The loss of moisture immediately before death.

7

Agonal edema

Escape of blood serum from an intravascular to an extravascular location immediately before death.

8

Agonal fever

Increase in body temperature immediately before death.

9

Agonal translocation

Redistribution of endemic microflora on a host-wide basis immediately before death.

10

Algor mortis

Postmortem cooling of the body to the ambient temperature.

11

Anaerobic

Characterized by the absence of free oxygen.

12

Antemortem

Before death

13

Apparent death

A condition in which the manifestations of life are feebly maintained.

14

Asphyxia

Death beginning in the lungs due to an insufficient intake of oxygen.

15

Autolysis

Self-destruction of cells; decomposition of all tissues by enzymes of their own formation without microbial assistance.

16

Autolytic enzyme

The body's own digestive enzymes that are capable of destroying body cells.

17

Biological death

Irreversible somatic death.

18

Cadaver

A dead body used for medical purposes.

19

Cadaveric spasm (Instantaneous rigor)

Immediate stiffening of the muscles of a dead human body.

20

Cellular death

Death of the individual cells of the body.

21

Clinical death

A phase of somatic death lasting from 5-6 minutes in which life may be restored.

22

Coma

Death beginning at the brain due to irreversible cessation of brain activity and loss of consciousness.

23

Corpse

The legal term for a dead body.

24

Death

Irreversible cessation of all vital functions.

25

Death rattle

Noise made by a moribund person caused by air passing through a residue of mucous in the trachea and posterior oral cavity.

26

Death struggle

The semi-convulsive twitches that often occur before death.

27

Decay

Decomposition of proteins by enzymes of aerobic bacteria.

28

Decomposition

Separation of compounds into simpler substances by the action of microbial and/or autolytic enzymes.

29

Dehydration

Loss of moisture from body tissue which may occur antemortem or postmortem; the removal of water from a substance.

30

Dessication

Extreme dehydration often resulting in post-embalming discolorations.

31

Desquamation (Skin slip)

Separation of the epidermis from the underlying dermis as a result of putrefaction.

32

Extravascular

Outside the blood vascular system.

33

Extrinsic

From outside the body.

34

Fermentation

The microbial (enzymatic) decomposition of carbohydrates under anaerobic conditions.

35

Hemolysis

Destruction of red blood cells that releases heme.

36

Human remains

The body (in whole or in part) of a deceased person, including cremated remains.

37

Hydrolysis

Decomposition with water as one of the reactants.

38

Hypostasis

Process of blood and/or other fluids settling to the dependent portions of the body; can occur in the antemortem, agonal, or postmortem periods.

39

In articulo mortis

The movement of blood from the heart and arteries into the capillaries and veins, which occurs at the moment of death.

40

Intravascular

Within the blood vascular system.

41

Intrinsic

From within the body.

42

Lipolysis

Decomposition of fats.

43

Livor mortis (Cadaveric lividity)

Intravascular, red-blue discoloration resulting from postmortem hypostasis of blood.

44

Massage

Manipulation of tissue in the course of preparation of the body.

45

Moribund

In a dying state; in the agonal period.

46

Necrobiosis

Antemortem, physiological death of the cells of the body followed by their replacement.

47

Necrosis

Pathological death of a tissue still a part of the living organism.

48

Postmortem caloricity

The rise in body temperature after death due to continued cellular metabolism.

49

Postmortem chemical change

Change in the body's chemical composition that occurs after death.

50

Postmortem physical change

Forces of nature that act on the body to alter the physical state of the body or tissues after death.

51

Postmortem stain

Extravascular color change that occurs when heme seeps through the vessel walls and into the body tissues.

52

Proteolysis

Decomposition of proteins.

53

Ptomaine

Any one of a group of nitrogenous organic compounds formed by the action of putrefactive bacteria on proteins; indole, skatole, cadaverine, and putrescine.

54

Putrefaction

Decomposition of proteins by the action of enzymes from anaerobic bacteria.

55

Rigor mortis

Postmortem stiffening of the body muscles by natural body process.

56

Saccharolysis

Decomposition of sugars.

57

Somatic death

Death of the organism as a whole.

58

Syncope

Death beginning at the heart.

59

Viscosity

The thickness of a liquid.