Vitreous Humor Biochemical Indicators of Acute CO Intoxication Associated Deaths: A Review of the Literature

Agoro, Eni-Yimini S. (2020-06)


Abstract Carbon monoxide (CO) intoxication is the inhalation of CO concentration above the tolerant threshold of the body. The quantity of CO concentration inhaled determines the level of damage which is proportional to either morbidity or mortality. The euphoria and rapidity of the mechanism of action of CO ranked it as a deleterious gas that could cause reparable to irreparable damage within a short interval. Disguised CO intoxication death is quite difficult to differentiate from that of accidental acute CO intoxication using autopsy findings. This gap is now utilized in committing heinous crimes. Postmortem use of blood is not practicable in most toxicological investigations due to fermentation and putrefaction. This has led to the use of vitreous humor in postmortem analytical toxicology. The dilemma in discriminating death truly resulting from CO intoxication from that of disguised (postmortem) CO intoxication is the quest of this study. This review elaborately takes a critical look at the literature relating to the subject of discourse with the view of drawing salient points that could be of critical importance in forensic science. A thorough review of the picture of vitreous chemistry resulting from acute CO intoxication was almost exhaustively analyzed based on the various perspectives found in the literature and other documents of importance.