Volume 30, Issue 1 (January 1985)
Methanol Intoxication: Distribution in Postmortem Tissues and Fluids Including Vitreous Humor
A 44-year-old man was found unconscious beneath an elevated rapid transit right-of-way. On admission to the emergency room, the patient was comatose in metabolic acidosis with high anion and osmolal gaps. The serum methanol was 583 mg/dL. The serum ethanol and ethylene glycol were negative. The patient was treated with ethanol, bicarbonate, and hemodialysis. He expired 40 h after admission. The postmortem methanol concentrations in body fluids were as follows: bile 175 mg/dL, vitreous humor 173 mg/dL, and blood 142 mg/dL. Urine was not available for analysis. Postmortem methanol concentrations in body tissues are given in decreasing order: brain 159 mg/100 g, kidney 130 mg/100 g, lung 127 mg/100 g, spleen 125 mg/100 g, skeletal muscle 112 mg/100 g, pancreas 109 mg/100 g, liver 107 mg/100 g, and heart 93 mg/100 g. The total amount of methanol in the gastric contents was 73 mg. Methanol determinations were performed on a Hewlett-Packard 5840A gas chromatograph with flame ionization detection using a glass column packed with 0.2% Carbowax 1500 on Carbopack C. The internal standard used was n-propyl alcohol.