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A Journal on Forensic Medicine
Minerva Medicolegale 2000 March;120(1): 1-5
Postmortem glucose levels. Comparative study in blood and pericardial fluid
Arroyo A., Coronas D.
Background. Because blood undergoes considerable postmortem changes, alternative body fluids have been sought for biochemical analysis in order to diagnose cause of death, or to know reference values. Pericardial fluid (PF) has proved a valuable medium in the diagnosis of heart-related deaths. Aims: we measured glucose levels in PF and compared them with levels in blood from the vena cava and left iliac artery.
Methods. We designed an observational and analytical study based on 62 forensic autopsies performed in Hospitalet (Spain). Samples were analyzed using an Accutrend GC reflectometer (Boehringer Mannheim).
Results. Although no difference was found between PF and iliac artery glucose values, differences were recorded between PF and vena cava values and between iliac artery and vena cava values. Results are additionally analyzed in terms of natural versus violent deaths, and of presence versus absence of cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
Conclusions. PF may prove as valuable as iliac artery blood as a medium for measurement of glucose levels. Due to the scattering of values, it was not possible to reflect the behavior of PF glucose in a regression equation. Further research and a larger sample size are required to furnish data relating PF glucose values to death from hyper- or hypoglycemia.