The incidence of obesity in the general population is increasing and consequently those requiring post-mortem are of a consistently higher body mass index. Special consideration must be given to the approach to post-mortem in the obese. Aside from the manual handling and practical difficulties, obesity generates a unique pathophysiology which frequently underlies the cause of death, especially sudden death in these individuals. A thorough understanding of the pathophysiology and an awareness of the wide range of conditions associated with obesity is essential in forensic pathology. I will review obesity associated mortality, the pathophysiology of obesity and the range of possible conditions affecting various organ systems using select case examples and touching briefly on recent research findings within the ever increasing field of obesity literature.
(C) 2013 Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia