Journal Article

Loss of Ethanol from Vitreous Humor in Drowning Deaths

Peter P. Singer, Graham R. Jones, Russell Lewis and Robert Johnson

in Journal of Analytical Toxicology

Volume 31, issue 8, pages 522-525
Published in print October 2007 | ISSN: 0146-4760
Published online October 2007 | e-ISSN: 1945-2403 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jat/31.8.522
Loss of Ethanol from Vitreous Humor in Drowning Deaths

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Two separate cases of drowning with extended periods underwater (2 and 4 weeks) are reported. The postmortem ethanol concentrations were 260 and 280 in central blood, 50 and 80 in vitreous, and 330 and 320 in urine (mg/100 mL) for cases 1 and 2, respectively. Determination of the urine 5-hydroxytryptophol/5-hydroxyindole-3-acetic acid ratios produced results of 713 and 41 pmol/nmol, respectively. The serotonin metabolite ratios support the explanation of diffusion of ethanol from the vitreous fluid into the surrounding water, rather than postmortem production of ethanol in blood, as the primary reason for the blood-vitreous ethanol differences.

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Subjects: Medical Toxicology ; Toxicology (Non-medical)

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