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We report a curious double-suicide autopsy case of both male and female who died of potassium poisoning by intravenous administration of concentrated potassium aspartate solution. The plasma concentrations of potassium of the male and female subjects were as high as 49.7 and 62.8 mEq/L, respectively. In addition to the high concentrations of potassium, toxic levels of phenobarbital, promethazine and chlorpromazine, and relatively low levels of etizolam and brotizolam were also detected from whole blood and urine specimens of both cadavers. Twenty empty plastic bottles (10-mL capacity) labeled 'ASPARA((R)) Potassium Injection 10 mEq' were found at the suicide spot. To our knowledge, this is the first description for suicidal death by potassium aspartate; in all of the previous literature, they used potassium chloride intravenously or per os.
Department of Legal Medicine, Hamamatsu University School of Medicine, Higashi-ku, Hamamatsu 431-3192, Japan.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Human & experimental toxicology
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A potassium salt used to replenish ELECTROLYTES, for restoration of WATER-ELECTROLYTE BALANCE, as well as a urinary and systemic alkalizer, which can be administered orally or by intravenous infusion. Formerly, it was used in DIURETICS and EXPECTORANTS.
A condition due to decreased dietary intake of potassium, as in starvation or failure to administer in intravenous solutions, or to gastrointestinal loss in diarrhea, chronic laxative abuse, vomiting, gastric suction, or bowel diversion. Severe potassium deficiency may produce muscular weakness and lead to paralysis and respiratory failure. Muscular malfunction may result in hypoventilation, paralytic ileus, hypotension, muscle twitches, tetany, and rhabomyolysis. Nephropathy from potassium deficit impairs the concentrating mechanism, producing polyuria and decreased maximal urinary concentrating ability with secondary polydipsia. (Merck Manual, 16th ed)
The abrupt and unexplained death of an apparently healthy infant under one year of age, remaining unexplained after a thorough case investigation, including performance of a complete autopsy, examination of the death scene, and review of the clinical history. (Pediatr Pathol 1991 Sep-Oct;11(5):677-84)
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