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Assessment and Comparison of Vitreous Humor as an Alternative Matrix for Forensic Toxicology Screening by GC-MS.

  • Author(s): Metushi, Imir G
  • Fitzgerald, Robert L
  • McIntyre, Iain M
  • et al.

Alternative specimens have been occasionally considered as substitutes for whole blood for postmortem toxicology testing. We studied the applicability of vitreous humor, and evaluated whether it would be suitable to replace (or augment) whole blood for routine drug screening. Results showed that from 51 autopsy cases, we were able to identify an aggregate of 209 findings in whole blood compared with 169 in vitreous. The total number of compounds identified was 71 for whole blood and 60 for vitreous humor. Quantitative analysis showed that whole-blood concentrations of trazodone were several fold higher than vitreous humor concentrations (1.42 ± 0.57 vs. 0.15 ± 0.05 mg/L, respectively) and similar results were also obtained for diazepam (0.37 ± 0.06 vs. 0.13 ± 0.01, respectively). For other drugs such as oxycodone, hydrocodone and doxylamine, a trend suggesting higher concentrations in vitreous humor vs. whole blood was observed; however, this was not significant. Our results are consistent with the limited work of other investigators, and suggest that vitreous humor could be an appropriate matrix for drug screening in postmortem toxicology.

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