Article

International Journal of Legal Medicine

, Volume 104, Issue 1, pp 39-42

Morphine in postmortem blood: its importance for the diagnosis of deaths associated with opiate addiction

  • C. StaubAffiliated withInstitute of Forensic Medicine, University of Geneva
  • , R. JeanmonodAffiliated withInstitute of Forensic Medicine, University of Geneva
  • , O. FryeAffiliated withInstitute of Forensic Medicine, University of Geneva

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Summary

This article describes an analytical method for the determination of morphine, the active metabolite of heroin, in post-mortem blood by HPLC with electrochemical detection. An extraction technique allowing the determination of free and total morphine (free morphine + morphine glucuronide) was used. Blood morphine levels in postmortem cases are reported and the ratio of free to total morphine was measured in 52 cases obtained at autopsy. The importance of this ratio is discussed in relation to the circumstances of the death.

Key words

Morphine Blood Death HPLC Overdose

Zusammenfassung

Bei 52 Herointodesfällen wurden im Leichenblut die Konzentrationen an Morphin und Morphinkonjugaten bestimmt. Aus dem Verhältnis der Konzentrationen können Aufschlüsse über die Dauer der Überlebenszeit abgeleitet werden. Zur Analyse des Morphins wird eine HPLC-Methode in Verbindung mit elektrochemischer Detektion vorgestellt.

Schlüsselwörter

Morphin Blut Tod HPLC Überdosierung