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Comparison of ethanol concentrations in right cardiac blood, left cardiac blood and peripheral blood in a series of 30 cases

Pelissier-Alicot AL, Coste N, Bartoli C, Piercecchi-Marti MD, Sanvoisin A, Gouvernet J, Leonetti G
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Forensic Sci Int. 2006 ;56 (1) :35-9
Type de publication : article
Résumé :
The aim of this study was to compare ethanol concentrations in right cardiac blood, left cardiac blood and peripheral blood. Samples were taken from a series of 30 medicolegal autopsies. Ethanol was measured by headspace GC-FID. In each case, the degree of putrefaction, chest or abdominal injury, and/or regurgitation of gastric contents into the airways were noted. Our results show that there exists in certain cases a marked increase in ethanol concentration in left cardiac blood compared with right cardiac blood and peripheral blood. In these cases, we observed (i) a high concentration of ethanol in the gastric contents and (ii) regurgitation of gastric contents into the airways. The authors discuss the post-mortem redistribution mechanisms which could explain these results and stress the value of sampling right cardiac blood at autopsy.


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