Post mortem ethanol detection in corpses after embalming – preliminary study
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Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, Faculty of Medical Sciences in Katowice, Medical University of Silesia, Katowice, Poland
Department of Statistics, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences in Sosnowiec, Medical University of Silesia, Katowice, Poland
Corresponding author
Marcin Tomsia   

Katedra Medycyny Sądowej i Toksykologii Sądowo-Lekarskiej, Wydział Nauk Medycznych w Ka-towicach, Śląski Uniwersytet Medyczny w Katowicach, ul. Medyków 18, 40-752 Katowice
Ann. Acad. Med. Siles. 2022;76:140-146
Nowadays, embalming has become more popular as it is often performed due to sanitary, hygienic, or psychological reasons. In special circumstances, like transporting a corpse from abroad, embalming is an administrative requirement. Embalming is performed using chemical substances that inhibit enzymes, bacteriological activity, and therefore cease decomposition processes. The study shows the toxicological analyses of sampled materials collected during post mortem examinations performed on six corpses subjected to the embalming process. It also presents the concentration of used preservatives in the tissues and body fluids. Analysis performed using gas chromatography with a flame ionization detector (GC-FID) revealed that in five cases, the deceased were intoxicated with ethanol during the time of death, and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) excluded the presence of psychoactive substances in all six cases. The results showed that in cases of toxicological analyses of embalmed corpses, it is crucial to secure isolated body fluids, such as cerebrospinal fluid, vitreous humor, and a wide range of reference material.
This work was supported by the institutional grant for young scientists from the Medical University of Silesia, Katowice, Poland, grants no. PCN-2-119/N/0/O and PCN-1-103/N/1/F.
The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare that are relevant to the content of this article.
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