Postmortem Production of Ethanol and n-Propanol in the Brain of Drowned Persons

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid

Abstract

We examined endogenous ethanol and n-propanol levels in the brain in 29 drowning cases in which ethanol consumption was excluded. Based on the stage of putrefaction of the brain, our cases were classified into 4 groups: pulpified brain (PB, n = 11), softened brain (SB, n = 6), discolored brain (DB, n = 2), and normal brain (NB, n = 10). The endogenous ethanol and n-propanol levels (mg/g), respectively, in the brains from these groups were 1.06 ± 0.401 and 0.076 ± 0.032 in PB, 0.195 ± 0.136 and 0.012 ± 0.009 in SB, and 0.053 ± 0.032 and 0.001 ± 0.001 in DB. Ethanol and n-propanol were not detected in NB. The concentration ratios of ethanol to n-propanol were 16.2 ± 7.1 in specimens with ethanol levels ≥0.50 mg/g (n = 10), and 17.6 ± 13.5 in specimens with ethanol levels of 0.10 to 0.49 mg/g (n = 9). Drinking may strongly be suspected when (1) ethanol concentration in the brain is ≥0.50 mg/g and cerebral ethanol to n-propanol ratio is ≥40; and (2) the concentration of ethanol is 0.10 to 0.49 mg/g and the ethanol to n-propanol ratio is ≥60.

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles