Journal Article

Evidence of Gestational Heroin Exposure by Comparative Analysis of Fetal and Maternal Body Fluids, Tissues, and Hair in a Heroin-Related Death

Stefanie Iwersen, Achim Schmoldt, Friedrich Schulz and Klaus Püschel

in Journal of Analytical Toxicology

Volume 22, issue 4, pages 296-298
Published in print July 1998 | ISSN: 0146-4760
Published online July 1998 | e-ISSN: 1945-2403 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jat/22.4.296
Evidence of Gestational Heroin Exposure by Comparative Analysis of Fetal and Maternal Body Fluids, Tissues, and Hair in a Heroin-Related Death

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In order to determine the fetal-maternal distribution of heroin and its main metabolites (6-monoacetylmorphine and morphine) the drug concentrations were measured in autopsy material. The heroin-related death of a pregnant drug abuser (approximately the 32nd week of gestation) provided the fetal and maternal material. Fetal and maternal hair was analyzed in order to obtain long-term information on the transplacental opiate transfer. Morphine and 6-monoacetylmorphine were detected in toxic concentrations in maternal as well as in fetal tissues and body fluids. The drug concentrations in the fetal blood were significantly lower than in the maternal blood. The ratio of fetal-to-maternal (F/M) blood morphine concentration was found to be 0.39, whereas the F/M ratio of 6-monoacetylmorphine in blood was 0.15. In fetal hair analysis, morphine, heroin, and, for the first time, 6-monoacetylmorphine were measured. The resulting F/M ratios were 0.49, 0.36, and 0.6, respectively.

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Subjects: Medical Toxicology ; Toxicology (Non-medical)

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