Suicide by inhalation of butane gas through a homemade adaptation of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) face mask


Fatal poisoning due to butane inhalation has been described in the clinical and forensic literature. We report the first case of a seventy-year-old obese man with a history of sleep apnea and depression, who was found dead in bed after inhaling butane gas through a homemade adaptation of his own continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) face mask. The death scene investigation, autopsy findings and toxicological results are described. The cause of death was suspected to be due to asphyxia through butane inhalation.

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The authors have no relevant affiliations or financial involvement with any organization or entity with a financial interest in or financial conflict with the subject matter or materials discussed in the manuscript. This includes employment, consultancies, honoraria, stock ownership or options, expert testimony, grants or patents received or pending, and royalties.

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Correspondence to Ricardo Jorge Dinis-Oliveira.

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Durão, C., Pedrosa, F. & Dinis-Oliveira, R.J. Suicide by inhalation of butane gas through a homemade adaptation of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) face mask. Forensic Sci Med Pathol 16, 732–734 (2020).

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  • Butane
  • Asphyxia
  • Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP)
  • Suicide
  • Forensic autopsy