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J Forensic Sci. 1997 Nov;42(6):1183-5.

Tissue distribution of ketamine in a mixed drug fatality.

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Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Division of Forensic Toxicology, Rockville, MD, USA.


While reports of ketamine abuse are increasing, reports of ketamine deaths and tissue concentrations associated with fatalities are rare. We report here a case of a mixed drug fatality involving ketamine and ethanol. Ketamine analysis was carried out by gas chromatography with a nitrogen-phosphorus detector (NPD). We found the following tissue concentrations: blood 1.8 mg/L; urine 2.0 mg/L; brain 4.3 mg/kg; spleen 6.1 mg/kg; liver 4.9 mg/kg, and kidney 3.6 mg/kg. The blood ethanol concentration was 170 mg/dL. Because an empty nalbuphine ampule was found in the possession of the deceased, the blood was assayed for this opioid compound using a gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) method. None was detected at a limit of detection of 0.02 mg/L.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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