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Evaluation of the Role of Toxicological Data in Discriminating Between H2S Femoral Blood Concentration Secondary to Lethal poisoning and Endogenous H2S Putrefactive Production

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Hydrogen sulfide is a colorless gas and has a strong odor of rotten eggs. It is absorbed by the upper respiratory tract mucosa, and it causes histotoxic hypoxemia and respiratory depression by exerting an inhibitory effect on cytochrome oxidase. To evaluate the role of toxicological data in distinguishing between the H2S blood concentration secondary to lethal poisoning and the endogenous H2S produced during putrefaction, we compared the postmortem H2S concentrations of six fatal H2S poisoning cases (8.7–28.6 mg/L) with the postmortem concentrations of endogenous H2S of 12 subjects who died from other causes (traffic‐related deaths) (2.2–32.7 mg/L). These results will be of interest to the forensic community as it underlines the importance of considering circumstantial evidence along with the toxicological and pathological findings in the identification of H2S lethal poisoning.
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Keywords: circumstantial evidence; forensic science; hydrogen sulfide; poisoning; postmortem concentration; putrefaction

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2017

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