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Leg Med (Tokyo). 2012 Jan;14(1):27-35. doi: 10.1016/j.legalmed.2011.10.004. Epub 2011 Dec 15.

Usefulness of postmortem biochemistry in forensic pathology: illustrative case reports.

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  • 1University Center of Legal Medicine, Lausanne-Geneva, Rue du Bugnon 21, 1011 Lausanne, Switzerland Rue Michel-Servet 1, 1211 Genève 4, Switzerland. cristian.palmiere@chuv.ch


The aim of this work is to present some practical, postmortem biochemistry applications to illustrate the usefulness of this discipline and reassert the importance of carrying out biochemical investigations as an integral part of the autopsy process. Five case reports are presented pertaining to diabetic ketoacidosis in an adult who was not known to suffer from diabetes and in presence of multiple psychotropic substances; fatal flecainide intoxication in a poor metabolizer also presenting an impaired renal function; diabetic ketoacidosis showing severe postmortem changes; primary aldosteronism presented with intracranial hemorrhage and hypothermia showing severe postmortem changes. The cases herein presented can be considered representative examples of the importance of postmortem biochemistry investigations, which may provide significant information useful in determining the cause of death in routine forensic casework or contribute to understanding the pathophysiological mechanisms involved in the death process.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

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