A case of drowning linked to ingested sulfides - A report with animal experiments

T. Imamura, S. Kage, K. Kudo, N. Jitsufuchi, T. Nagata

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16 Citations (Scopus)


An adult male was found dead beneath a pool of sewage in the pump room of a fish market. Autopsy revealed the cause of death to be suffocation after aspirating sewage into the respiratory tract. Since hydrogen sulfide gas was detected in the atmosphere at the scene of the accident, gas poisoning was suspected and toxicological analysis of sulfides in body tissues was performed. The concentrations of sulfides in the blood, lung and kidney were 0.95 μmol/ml, 0.22 and 0.38 μmol/g, respectively. These values were remarkably higher than those in previously reported cases involving exposure to hydrogen sulfide gas. Therefore, oral intake of sulfides was assumed and the distribution of sulfides in tissues following oral administration of sodium sulfide solution was examined by means of animal experiments using rats. The concentration of sulfides in the blood from rats following oral intake was much higher than that seen following gas expo; sure. Based on these results, we concluded that the victim had been exposed to hydrogen sulfide gas and had then collapse into a pool of sewage containing sulfides. The sulfides which were distributed throughout the body tissues had mainly issued from the alimentary tract prior to death by drowning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-44
Number of pages3
JournalInternational Journal of Legal Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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