Volume 50, Issue 1 (January 2005)
A Fatal Chronic Ketamine Poisoning
A few papers in the literature reported incident deaths by acute ketamine poisoning. In this paper, we report an unusual homicide caused by chronic ketamine poisoning. The victim was a 34-year old married woman with no previous medical history (except as reported herein) who died in her own home. The court investigation revealed that she was chronically poisoned by her husband over a period of about one year in an act of homicide. Determination of ketamine concentrations in autopsy specimens was carried out with gas-chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The results showed that ketamine concentration was 21 µg/mL in gastric contents, 3.8 µg/mL in blood and 1.2 µg/mL in urine. The most striking forensic findings were cardiac muscle fibrosis and hyaline degeneration of small arteries in victim's heart, the pathological features of ketamine poisoning previous reported only in animal studies.