The effects of drying the rinsed dissected heart on postmortem heart weight

J Forensic Sci. 2022 Jan;67(1):251-256. doi: 10.1111/1556-4029.14858. Epub 2021 Aug 11.


Blood and blood clots should be removed from the heart chambers before being weighed. The actual method in removing blood and blood clots may vary and can include manual removal with subsequent rinsing the heart in water. It is unclear whether drying the rinsed heart affects the heart weight. The objective of this article was to investigate the effects drying the rinsed dissected heart (residual rinsing water) on postmortem heart weight. The prospective study compared 44 dissected heart weights after being rinsed and after being pat dried. An average 18-20 g of residual rinsing water (4% of heart weight) was present in the dissected heart. The amount of residual rinsing water correlates positively with heart weight. The effects of drying the rinsed dissected heart were considered clinically insignificant. Although being clinically insignificant, this study highlights the lack of standardized approach in weighing the heart and the potential implications in interpreting heart weights.

Keywords: adult; autopsy; dissection; heart weight; postmortem; rinsing.

MeSH terms

  • Autopsy*
  • Heart*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Water*


  • Water