Journal Article

Analytical Findings in a Suicide Involving Sodium Azide

Pierre Marquet, Sophie Clément, Hayat Lotfi, Marie-France Dreyfuss, Jean Debord, Daniel Dumont and Gérard Lachâtre

in Journal of Analytical Toxicology

Volume 20, issue 2, pages 134-138
Published in print March 1996 | ISSN: 0146-4760
e-ISSN: 1945-2403 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jat/20.2.134
Analytical Findings in a Suicide Involving Sodium Azide

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A 47-year-old laboratory assistant ingested approximately 9 g of sodium azide powder and died 4 h later at a hospital. A high-performance liquid chromatographic method using diode-array detection has been developed for the determination of an azide benzoyl derivative in blood (after a simple deproteinization) and in several tissues (after homogenization in a neutral buffer and deproteinization of the supernatant). The blood concentration in this case was lower than those previously published. The highest azide concentration was found in lung tissue. A complete toxicological screening revealed the presence of cyanide in blood, which has been previously reported twice, but for the first time, it was confirmed by mass spectrometry. Whether the production of cyanide in the presence of azide took place in vivo or postmortem remains unknown; the nature of the metabolic pathway involved also remains unknown.

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Subjects: Medical Toxicology ; Toxicology (Non-medical)

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