Volume 22, Issue 3 (July 1977)
Gases Released from Tissue and Analyzed by Infrared and Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectroscopy Techniques
To help establish the cause of or contributory factors leading to death, gas chromatography (GC) is commonly used to analyze volatile compounds given off as gases from postmortem tissues. Problems seldom arise during confirmatory analyses because available evidence indicates from the start what compounds are likely to be present. When little evidence is available, however, GC by itself is a poor technique for sample identification. Combining a mass spectrometer (MS) and computer system with a gas chromatograph has frequently solved the identification problem. A recent paper  describes the routine use of such a system to identify drugs and their metabolites in body fluids of overdose victims. In an effort to expand applications in this area, we describe a technique to release gases from tissues and to analyze toxic gases by a GC/MS computer system. Infrared (IR) spectroscopic analyses were also performed on all gas samples, and results were compared with analyses by the more sophisticated and expensive GC/MS computer method.