<- Home <- Arhive <- Vol. 23, Issue 2, June 2015

Rom J Leg Med23(2)115-120(2015)
© Romanian Society of Legal Medicine

Fatal butane inhalation from gas cartridges: a case report and literature review

K. K. Kataoka, J. Fujihara, T. Yasuda, H. Takeshita

Abstract: Volatile substances are commonly misused with easy-to-obtain commercial products, such as glue, shoe polish, nail polish remover, butane lighter fluid, gasoline and computer duster spray. This report describes a case of sudden death of a 29-year-old woman after presumably inhaling gas cartridge butane from a plastic bag. Autopsy, pathological and toxicological analyses were performed in order to determine the cause of death. Pulmonary edema was observed pathologically, and the toxicological study revealed 2.1μL/mL of butane from the blood. The causes of death from inhalation of volatile substances have been explained by four mechanisms; cardiac arrhythmia, anoxia, respiratory depression, and vagal inhibition. In this case, the cause of death was determined to be asphyxia from anoxia. Additionally, we have gathered fatal butane inhalation cases with quantitative analyses of butane concentrations, and reviewed other reports describing volatile substance abuse worldwide.
Keywords: forensic science, butane, inhalation, volatile substance, autopsy, toxicology.

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