Journal Article

Postmortem Analyses of Gaseous and Volatile Substances in Pericardial Fluid and Bone Marrow Aspirate

Mariko Tominaga, Takaki Ishikawa, Tomomi Michiue, Shigeki Oritani, Izumi Koide, Yuko Kuramoto, Masafumi Ogawa and Hitoshi Maeda

in Journal of Analytical Toxicology

Volume 37, issue 3, pages 147-151
Published in print April 2013 | ISSN: 0146-4760
Published online February 2013 | e-ISSN: 1945-2403 | DOI:
Postmortem Analyses of Gaseous and Volatile Substances in Pericardial Fluid and Bone Marrow Aspirate

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A previous study suggested the usefulness of pericardial fluid (PCF) and bone marrow aspirate (BMA) for the postmortem analysis of ethanol. The present study reviewed forensic autopsy cases (n = 2,983), which included 683 cases with the following positive toxicological findings, to reassess ethanol distribution and to investigate other gaseous and volatile substances in blood, PCF and BMA. Toxicological analyses detected ethanol (>10 mg/dL, n = 345), acetone (>0.01 mg/dL, n = 402), cyanide (n = 282), toluene (n = 47), liquefied petroleum gas (LPG, n = 1), cresol (n = 1), trichloroethylene (TCE, n = 1) and hydrogen sulfide (H2S, n = 5) in 683 cases. Ethanol and acetone levels showed good correlations among right heart/peripheral blood, PCF and BMA with a few exceptions. Inhaled cyanide in a fire fatality and H2S in suicidal inhalation were substantially lower in PCF than in blood and BMA; however, ingested cyanide showed a higher level in PCF. Distribution of inhaled toluene largely varied by case; however, BMA levels were about twice as high as blood levels in abusers (n = 7). Inhaled LPG and TCE were also higher in BMA than in blood, whereas ingested cresol showed similar distributions in blood and PCF. These observations suggest the usefulness of PCF and BMA as alternatives to blood for postmortem toxicological analysis. The inclusion of these materials in routine analysis may be also useful to investigate pharmacokinetics and toxicokinetics in the death process and the influence of postmortem redistribution/diffusion.

Journal Article.  3105 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medical Toxicology ; Toxicology (Non-medical)

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