(Received 5 May 1987; accepted 2 June 1987)
Published Online: March
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Succinylcholine (SCh) has been detected six months postmortem in liver, kidney, and injection site muscle of rats given 10 to 200 mg/kg by intramuscular injection. SCh stability was studied in canine tissue to evaluate three storage temperatures and two chemical preservatives at three time periods after injection. Nine mongrel dogs weighing 17.2 to 28 kg were divided equally into three groups and administered either 0.5, 1.0, or 5.0 mg SCh/kg intravenously into the cephalic vein. Liver, kidney, and gastrocnemius muscle were removed 90 min post-injection and divided into twelve portions. Each portion was treated with embalming fluid, physostigmine, the combination (50/50), or nothing. Chemically treated tissues and nontreated tissues were then stored at either 27, 5, or −20°C for a period of up to forty days. Tissue portions were analyzed using ion-pair extraction, chemical demethylation, and gas chromatography with nitrogen phosphorous detection.
Stability of SCh was greatest for samples stored at −20°C and preserved with the combination of embalming fluid plus physostigmine. Kidney concentrations of SCh were significantly higher than those in liver or muscle at all doses. SCh was detected 24 h post-injection in all cases. By 40 days, only trace amounts of SCh, if any, could be detected in samples stored at room temperature with no chemical preservatives.
Toxicology supervisor, Ventura County Sheriff's Criminalistics Laboratory, Ventura, CA
Director of Toxicology, Medical College of Ohio, Toledo, OH
Stock #: JFS11959J