Korean J Leg Med.  2003 May;27(1):34-37.

Forensic Review of Cyanide Poisoning in Victims of Fire

Affiliations
  • 1National Institute of Scientific Investigation, Korea. mrkjhk@yahoo.co.kr

Abstract

Cyanide(hydrogen cyanide-HCN: potassium cyanide-KCN) is an important lethal poison that asphyxates by blocking the utilization of oxygen by the tissues through chemical binding of respiratory enzyme. It taken orally causes extensive corrosion of the stomach including oral and esophageal mucosa and leads to sudden death. In addition, it is one of the toxic agents with carbon monoxide in fire victims and is released by combustion of nitrogen-containing organic material such as plastic and wool. Until now there are few reports about blood cyanide concentrations in fatalities by fire in Korea. So, in this study, we examined blood cyanide concentration in 12 cases of fire fatalities. Simple microdiffusion procedure was used as a analysis method of cyanide. In 12 cases of fire victims, blood cyanide concentrations averaged 2.30 microgram/ml, with a range of 0.64 -4.27 microgram/ml.

Keyword

Cyanide; Fire
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