Journal Article

Analysis of Clothing and Urine from Moscow Theatre Siege Casualties Reveals Carfentanil and Remifentanil Use

James R. Riches, Robert W. Read, Robin M. Black, Nicholas J. Cooper and Christopher M. Timperley

in Journal of Analytical Toxicology

Volume 36, issue 9, pages 647-656
Published in print November 2012 | ISSN: 0146-4760
Published online September 2012 | e-ISSN: 1945-2403 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jat/bks078
Analysis of Clothing and Urine from Moscow Theatre Siege Casualties Reveals Carfentanil and Remifentanil Use

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On October 26, 2002, Russian Special Forces deployed a chemical aerosol against Chechen terrorists to rescue hostages in the Dubrovka theatre. Its use confirmed Russian military interest in chemicals with effects on personnel and caused 125 deaths through a combination of the aerosol and inadequate medical care. This study provides evidence from liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry analysis of extracts of clothing from two British survivors, and urine from a third survivor, that the aerosol comprised a mixture of two anaesthetics—carfentanil and remifentanil—whose relative proportions this study was unable to identify. Carfentanil and remifentanil were found on a shirt sample and a metabolite called norcarfentanil was found in a urine sample. This metabolite probably originated from carfentanil.

Journal Article.  6058 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medical Toxicology ; Toxicology (Non-medical)

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