Volume 41, Issue 2 (March 1996)
Postmortem Distribution and Redistribution of Morphine in Man
This study evaluated both site dependent differences and time dependent changes in postmortem morphine concentrations in man. In 32 deaths involving morphine, left ventricular blood, femoral blood, and cisternal cerebrospinal fluid, were collected as soon after death as possible (T1), and collected again together with iliac blood at the time of autopsy (T2). Samples were analyzed for morphine by radioimmunoassay.
No evidence was found for changes in morphine concentration with respect to time at either central or peripheral sites, or in the cerebrospinal fluid. Ventricular blood morphine concentrations were however consistently higher than those in the peripheral compartment, represented by either femoral or iliac blood. This was particularly true when the ventricular morphine concentration exceeded 0.300 mg/L. At peripheral sites, femoral and iliac blood morphine concentrations were well correlated with each other, making either an appropriate site for collection of peripheral blood for toxicological testing.