Fatal intoxications in a Swedish forensic autopsy material during 1992-2002
2004 (English)In: Forensic Science International, ISSN 0379-0738, Vol. 143, no 1, 53-59 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Compilations of substances detected in fatal intoxications are important in order to observe changes in intoxication patterns, to monitor effects of preventive work and to discover new trends in drug usage. The aim of the present study was to describe the current pattern of substances detected in fatal intoxications in Sweden. Fatal intoxications investigated at the Department of Forensic Chemistry, Linköping, Sweden, during 1992–2002, were analysed. All suicides, uncertain cases and accidents where the cause of death were fatal intoxications (ICD-9: E950, E980 and E859) were included and substances detected in more than 50 fatal intoxications (in femoral blood) were listed. For each substance, a cut off value was set, above which concentrations were considered toxic. Fatal intoxications were detected by forensic-chemical analyses in 12% (6998/60,314) of the forensic autopsies during the study period. Among the suicides, an average of 3.8 substances were detected per case, the corresponding figure for uncertain cases and accidents were 3.5 and 4.1 substances, respectively. Ethanol was by far the most frequently detected substance, detected in 43% (3039) of the fatal intoxications, of which 32% (960) had toxic concentrations, followed by propoxyphene, detected in 27% (1863) of the fatal intoxications of which 74% (1370) had toxic concentrations. The number of cases where ethanol and propoxyphene were detected decreased during the study period. Moreover, other CNS-active drugs such as antidepressants, analgesics and anxiolytics were also frequently detected. The drugs with high proportions of cases with toxic concentrations detected were propoxyphene, amitriptyline, zolpidem, carisoprodol, alprazolam, thioridazine, methadone and ketobemidone. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) and tricyclic antidepressants (TCA) were detected in 12% (833) and 10% (665), respectively. A significantly (P<0.001) higher proportion of cases where TCA were detected had toxic concentrations when compared with cases where SSRI were detected (64% versus 31%).
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2004. Vol. 143, no 1, 53-59 p.
Forensic science, Forensic chemistry, Fatal intoxications, Postmortem, Toxicology
National CategoryMedical and Health Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-12848DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2004.02.010OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-12848DiVA: diva2:17203