Volume 46, Issue 2 (March 2001)
A New Perspective in the Estimation of Postmortem Interval (PMI) Based on Vitreous [K+]
The relation between the potassium concentration in the vitreous humor, [K+], and the postmortem interval has been studied by several authors. Many formulae are available and they are based on a correlation test and linear regression using the PMI as the independent variable and [K+] as the dependent variable. The estimation of the confidence interval is based on this formulation. However, in forensic work, it is necessary to use [K+] as the independent variable to estimate the PMI.
Although all authors have obtained the PMI by direct use of these formulae, it is, nevertheless, an inexact approach, which leads to false estimations. What is required is to change the variables, obtaining a new equation in which [K+] is considered as the independent variable and the PMI as the dependent. The regression line obtained from our data is [K+] = 5.35 + 0.22 PMI, by changing the variables we get PMI = 2.58[K+] − 9.30. When only nonhospital deaths are considered, the results are considerably improved. In this case, we get [K+] = 5.60 + 0.17 PMI and, consequently, PMI = 3.92[K+] − 19.04.