Korean J Leg Med.  2018 May;42(2):33-38. 10.7580/kjlm.2018.42.2.33.

Forensic Review of Hot Bath-Related Death in the Elderly: Focused on Japanese Studies

  • 1Department of Forensic Medicine, Pusan National University School of Medicine, Yangsan, Korea. gyhuh@pusan.ac.kr
  • 2Department of Physiology, Inje University College of Medicine, Busan, Korea.


Hot bath-related deaths occur occasionally in Korea, particularly in the winter season among elderly people. The postmortem determination of the cause and manner of death is often difficult because the investigation depends predominantly on postmortem external examination. Moreover, the pathogenesis of sudden death during immersion in a hot bath tub is not easily explained. Confusion regarding the manner of death, whether accidental or natural, causes some conflicts in the compensation of life insurance. This study reviewed the literature, particularly Japanese studies about epidemiology, pathophysiology, and the disputes regarding determination of the manner of death. We concluded that the cause and manner of death are not as simple as only natural disease or drowning; there are complicated cases mixed with accidental and natural causes. Extensive epidemiological studies and thorough investigation, including full autopsy and toxicologic studies, are essential for comprehensive understanding of hot bath-related deaths in Korea.


Baths; Aged; Sudden death; Physiopathology; Cause of death

MeSH Terms

Asian Continental Ancestry Group*
Cause of Death
Compensation and Redress
Death, Sudden
Dissent and Disputes
Epidemiologic Studies
Insurance, Life


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