The course of respiration and circulation in 'toluene-sniffing'

Noriaki Ikeda, Hiroshi Takahashi, Kazuo Umetsu, Tsuneo Suzuki

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19 Citations (Scopus)


To investigate the course of respiration and circulation in death by toluene inhalation, 25 dogs were allowed to rebreathe toluene vapor in a 1-1 plastic bag expanded with air, and electrocardiogram (ECG), electroencephalogram (EEG), blood pressure (BP) in the femoral artery and intrathoracic pressure (ITP) were registered. The respiratory movement continued two times longer than that of death by suffocation using a plastic bag of the same size. In the ECG, low voltage of R waves precipitously appeared several minutes after the beginning of the experiment and continued. The BP gradually reduced by half and kept the level for several minutes. The stage was considered toluene narcosis. Toward the end of the respiratory movement, the BP increased gradually. The analysis of the ECG complexes during the toluene inhalation revealed the direct effect of toluene to the septal and ventricular muscle of the heart. But in the end of the respiratory movement, it revealed ST segment elevation and upright T. In a few experimental animals, some of the transient arrhythmia with fluctuation of the BP appeared during the course, and in one of these dogs, fatal ventricular fibrillation occurred suddenly. These findings suggested that in most cases of sudden death in 'toluene-sniffing', the cause of death is severe hypoxia during toluene narcosis, but in a few cases, it is fatal arrhythmia due to the direct effect of toluene to the heart muscle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-158
Number of pages8
JournalForensic Science International
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1990
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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