A set of tables representing Henssge's two-exponential equations of postmortem rectal temperature

Shuji Kozawa, Nobuhiro Yukawa, Hisanaga Kuroki, Takeshi Saito, Sanae Takeichi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Marshall proposed a two-exponential equation of body cooling for the estimation of postmortem intervals. However, use of this equation did not become as widespread as deserved, perhaps because it was too complex to be manipulated without a computer. Henssge was later able to simplify the equation by revising the method by which two of the constants were determined. He then devised a nomogram allowing the simplified equation to be solved, which is now regarded as one of the most practical methods for estimating postmortem intervals. However, this method remains slightly inconvenient as it involves carefully marking lines on the nomogram sheet. In this paper, we describe tabulation of the simplified equation using Microsoft Excel. Each table represents body cooling at a given ambient temperature of 0, 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, 27, 30, and 33°C. In each table, rectal temperatures are given as functions of postmortem intervals for different body weights, allowing approximate postmortem intervals to be easily read off. An Excel spreadsheet for solving the simplified equation is also shown.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-58
Number of pages13
JournalActa Criminologiae et Medicinae Legalis Japonica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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