Volume 21, Issue 3 (July 1976)
Comparative Postmortem Chemistries of Vitreous Humor Before and After Embalming
While over thirty papers  discuss the use of vitreous humor to determine biochemical or toxicological abnormalities that may have existed prior to death, only three of these mention the use of vitreous humor from embalmed bodies. Sturner and Gantner , reporting on postmortem glucose determinations of vitreous humor, stated that of eight embalmed cases the results of all but one were in the proposed normal range. The single exception was a 12-year-old girl who died of botulism and whose vitreous sugar 24 h after embalming was 108 mg/dl. They further mentioned that in one case, eight days elapsed without appreciably altering a supposedly normal value. Scott et al  reported on the use of vitreous humor for determination of ethyl alcohol in embalmed bodies. They found good correlation between preembalming and postembalming alcohol levels, with a mild decrease in postembalming specimens noted. Finally, there is one case report by Coe  in which there was determination of barbiturates in the vitreous humor of a body embalmed 32 days before. His report is included as part of an article on general problems in postmortem chemistry.