It is important for forensic pathologists to determine the diagnosis of drowning as well as the site of drowning. In a previous study, we propose that analysis of electrolytes in pleural effusion from rats may be useful for determining whether drowning has occurred in seawater or freshwater. To test this proposal, we measured the concentration of sodium, potassium and chloride ions and total protein in pleural effusion from 40 autopsy cases: 24 involving seawater drowning, 9 freshwater drowning and 7 no drowning. The concentrations of sodium and chloride ions in pleural effusion showed a significant difference between seawater drowning and freshwater drowning. The concentration of potassium ions and total protein showed no difference between each group, although they increased in proportion to the postmortem interval in cases of both seawater and freshwater drowning. These results are almost same as our previous study and, thus, the quantitative analysis of electrolytes in pleural effusion may be useful for determining whether drowning has occurred in seawater or freshwater.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine