Author(s): Pounder DJ, Yonemitsu K, Pounder DJ, Yonemitsu K
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Abstract Using human cadavers an experimental model was developed to simulate the agonal aspiration of drug- and alcohol-laden vomitus. By needle puncture, an acidified (N/20 HCl) 60-ml slurry of drugs (paracetamol 3.25 g, dextropropoxyphene 325 mg) and ethanol 3\% w/v was introduced into the trachea. After 48 h undisturbed at room temperature, blood samples were obtained from ten sites. Ethanol and drug concentrations were highest in the pulmonary vessels in all five cases studied. Pulmonary vein mean ethanol was 58 mg\% (range 13-130), paracetamol 969 mg/l (range 284-1934), propoxyphene 70 mg/l (range 11-168). Pulmonary artery mean ethanol was 53 mg\% (range 10-98), paracetamol 476 mg/l (range 141-882), propoxyphene 29 mg/l (range 7.6-80). Ethanol and drug concentrations in aortic blood were higher than in the left heart and concentrations in the superior vena cava were higher than in the right heart, suggesting direct diffusion into these vessels rather than diffusion via the pulmonary and cardiac blood. Potential interpretive problems arising from this phenomenon can be avoided by using femoral vein blood for quantitative toxicological analysis.
This article was published in Forensic Sci Int
and referenced in Journal of Forensic Research