<- Home <- Arhive <- Vol. 29, Issue 3, September 2021



Rom J Leg Med29(3)261-271(2021)
DOI:10.4323/rjlm.2021.261
© Romanian Society of Legal Medicine


TIME OF DEATH ESTIMATION BASED ON THE ANALYSIS OF TANATHOCHEMICAL PROCESSES IN FORENSIC MEDICINE

S. Zieba, M. Wiergowski, M. Krzyzanowska, T. Gos, I. Sołtyszewski


Abstract: The aim of this study was to identify the optimal method of estimating the post-mortem interval (PMI) based on a literature analysis, especially papers on measuring the concentrations of endogenous substances. The literature review included data obtained between 1960 and 2021, and presented in the PubMed database. Identify 55 publications, and, based on these, we were able to identify the biological material and substances which had been most frequently used to assess the PMI. The most common biological materials were: vitreous humor (61%), blood (20%) and urine (7%). The most common endogenous substances were: potassium ions (42%), γ-hydroxybutyric acid - GHB (13%), hypoxanthine (11%). It has to be emphasized that the measurement of the concentration of a single endogenous substance in a biological matrix is usually not sufficient to precisely establish the PMI. The literature review indicates that it is the concentration of potassium ions that is determined most frequently in terms of the PMI. We identified factors which have an impact on the post-mortem potassium level (extraction, preliminary sample processing, mass of the corpse, age, gender, cause of death). Hypoxanthine is frequently measured along with potassium ions, and the concentration of the former increases with the PMI (24-60 hours).The literature analysis reveals that potassium and hypoxanthine demonstrate a positive correlation with the PMI. The vitreous humour still remains the preferred biological material for the PMI estimation. Some authors suggest the alternative use of synovial fluid obtained from the knee joint.
Keywords: post-mortem interval (PMI), time since death, time of death, potassium, hypoxanthine, vitreous humour.



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