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Type: Journal article
Title: Death associated with volatile substance inhalation - Histologic scanning electron microscopic and energy dispersive X-ray spectral analyses of lung tissue
Author: Byard, R.
Gilbert, J.
Terlet, J.
Citation: Forensic Science International, 2007; 171(2-3):118-121
Publisher: Elsevier Sci Ireland Ltd
Issue Date: 2007
ISSN: 0379-0738
Statement of
Roger W. Byard, John D. Gilbert and John Terlet
Abstract: The investigation of deaths due to the inhalation of volatile substances may be complicated by a lack of scene and autopsy findings. Mechanisms of death may not be determinable at autopsy, and there may be very few markers of inhalant abuse. A 21-year-old man is reported who died from the combined effects of methadone toxicity and toluene inhalation. Histological examination of the lungs revealed congestion and edema, as well as particles of blue, pigmented material within the interstitium and in macrophages. Scanning electron microscopy was undertaken, revealing that the particles contained granules that measured 0.15-0.2microm in diameter, within the range of mean particle sizes for inorganic paint pigments. Energy dispersive X-ray spectral analysis of the granules demonstrated a significant percentage of titanium (12%) confirming their origin from paint. Ancillary investigations such as electron microscopy and X-ray spectral analysis in cases of possible lethal volatile inhalation may prove useful adjuncts in determining the type of substance inhaled and in providing evidence of previous non-lethal episodes.
Keywords: Lung; Macrophages; Humans; Pulmonary Edema; Substance-Related Disorders; Foreign Bodies; Aluminum; Titanium; Toluene; Methadone; Narcotics; Solvents; Microscopy, Electron, Scanning; Spectrum Analysis; Administration, Inhalation; Forensic Pathology; Paint; Adult; Male
Description: Copyright © 2006 Elsevier Ireland Ltd All rights reserved.
RMID: 0020072253
DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2006.10.008
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Appears in Collections:Pathology publications

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