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Death from Nitrous Oxide
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Forensic Medicine. Department of Forensic Medicine, National Board of Forensic Medicine, PO Box 7616, SE-907 12, Umeå.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Forensic Medicine.
2015 (English)In: Journal of Forensic Sciences, ISSN 0022-1198, E-ISSN 1556-4029, Vol. 60, no 6, 1662-1665 p.Article in journal (Refereed) PublishedText
Abstract [en]

Nitrous oxide is an inflammable gas that gives no smell or taste. It has a history of abuse as long as its clinical use, and deaths, although rare, have been reported. We describe two cases of accidental deaths related to voluntary inhalation of nitrous oxide, both found dead with a gas mask covering the face. In an attempt to find an explanation to why the victims did not react properly to oncoming hypoxia, we performed experiments where a test person was allowed to breath in a closed system, with or without nitrous oxide added. Vital signs and gas concentrations as well as subjective symptoms were recorded. The experiments indicated that the explanation to the fact that neither of the descendents had reacted to oncoming hypoxia and hypercapnia was due to the inhalation of nitrous oxide. This study raises the question whether nitrous oxide really should be easily, commercially available.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 60, no 6, 1662-1665 p.
Keyword [en]
forensic science, nitrous oxide, abuse, hypoxic asphyxia, death, restrictions
National Category
Forensic Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-114920DOI: 10.1 111/1556-4029.12879ISI: 000367672300042OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-114920DiVA: diva2:898811
Available from: 2016-01-29 Created: 2016-01-29 Last updated: 2016-01-29Bibliographically approved

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Bäckstrom, BjörnJohansson, BengtEriksson, Anders
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