Brain death diagnosed by forensic analysis of drug distribution in human tissues

K. Kudo, T. Nagata, T. Imamura, N. Jitsufuchi, S. Kashimura

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7 Citations (Scopus)


Brain death was diagnosed by analyzing drug distribution in human tissues. Concentrations of diazepam and phenobarbital in human tissues, administered therapeutically to 3 patients in a critical condition, were determined by gas chromatography with a nitrogen phosphorus detector and gas chromatography- mass spectrometry. In 2 patients administered drugs while the brain was functioning, drug concentrations in the brain were high compared with those in the other tissues. In the other patient given the drugs after vital signs of the brain ceased, the level of drugs in the brain was much lower than seen in other tissues. We propose that a forensic diagnosis of patients who are brain dead can be made by comparing the concentrations of drugs in the brain given at the time of critical condition with concentration of these agents in other tissues. When cerebral function ceased can be roughly estimated by the variable distribution patterns of drugs and time of administration of these drugs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-174
Number of pages6
JournalJapanese Journal of Legal Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1995

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health Policy
  • Law


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