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  • 1.
    Söderberg, Carl
    et al.
    Department of Forensic Genetics and Forensic Toxicology, National Board of Forensic Medicine, Artillerigatan 12, 587 58, Linköping, Sweden.
    Rodushkin, Ilia
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Geosciences and Environmental Engineering. ALS Scandinavia AB, 971 87, Luleå, Sweden.
    Johansson, Anna
    Department of Forensic Genetics and Forensic Toxicology, National Board of Forensic Medicine, Artillerigatan 12, 587 58, Linköping, Sweden.
    Kugelberg, Fredrik C.
    Department of Forensic Genetics and Forensic Toxicology, National Board of Forensic Medicine, Artillerigatan 12, 587 58, Linköping, Sweden; Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Division of Clinical Chemistry and Pharmacology, Linköping University, 581 83, Linköping, Sweden.
    Postmortem reference concentrations of 68 elements in blood and urine2023In: International journal of legal medicine, ISSN 0937-9827, E-ISSN 1437-1596, Vol. 137, p. 655-669Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Introduction: Fatal intoxications, both accidental and intentional, are a global issue. In the Western world, intoxications with pharmaceuticals dominate, but in other parts of the world, other substances are more common. In a forensic setting, elemental intoxications are of great importance when investigating both accidental, suicidal, and homicidal deaths. The current study presents normal postmortem reference concentrations of 68 elements in femoral blood and urine. In addition, possible sources of error such as contamination from sample tubes, preservative potassium fluoride (KF) solution, and storage time are evaluated.

    Methods: Paired femoral blood and urine samples from 120 cases of death by suicidal hanging in Sweden were collected. Additionally, multiple batches of sample tubes and multiple batches of KF solution were also analyzed. Concentrations of elements were determined by double focusing sector field ICP-MS.

    Results: Key descriptive statistics for 68 elements are provided in blood and urine. Contamination from sample tubes was minor compared to the overall mean elemental concentrations in both blood and urine. KF solution contained a large assortment of elements, but the overall contribution is relatively minor for most elements given the small amounts of solution added to samples. There were significant differences for 22 elements in blood and 17 elements in urine between samples with short and long storage time.

    Conclusion: The present study provides an important tool when evaluating postmortem elemental concentrations. It fills a needed gap between large antemortem population studies and postmortem case reports or small case series of elemental intoxications.

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