Seven cases of fatal aconite poisoning: Forensic experience in China

Faculty of Forensic Medicine, Tongji Medical College of Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Hangkong Road 13#, Wuhan 430030, China.
Forensic science international (Impact Factor: 2.12). 06/2011; 212(1-3):e5-9. DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2011.05.009
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This paper presents seven fatal cases of aconite poisoning encountered in the Tongji Center for Medicolegal Expertise in Hubei (TCMEH), China, from 1999 to 2008 retrospectively. In six of the cases, deaths occurred after drinking homemade medicated liquor containing aconite, and in one case death was due to ingestion of traditional Chinese medication containing aconite. Forensic autopsy and pathological examinations ruled out the presence of physical trauma or life-threatening diseases. Diagnosis of aconite poisoning was made after postmortem toxicological analysis. Animal experiment was performed in one case demonstrating that the medicated liquor could cause death rapidly. We present the autopsy and histopathological findings, toxicological analysis, and results of animal experiment done on samples from those seven cases. As an important herbal Chinese medicine, Aconitum species deserve special attention, especially because it contains poisonous alkaloids.

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