The analysis of the cadaveric gases in the medical-legal diagnosis of iatrogenic gas embolism

A. Groppi, A. Mazza, P. Papa, G. Pierucci

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In eventual case of death during/after oxygen-ozonotherapy, one must suppose a rough error, with following gas embolism, whose detection requires special cautions before and during autopsy. In particular, the gas present in the heart has to be collected with an aspirometer, measured, stored and subsequently analyzed to distinguish between embolic and putrefactive gas. To verify the possibility of diagnosis of O2/O3 gas embolism, we have performed an experimental investigation. The material for the research consists of three bodies. We have performed a gas embolism, in two cases 12 hours after death, in one case 24 hours post-mortem. For the analysis of the gas recovered by aspirometer from the heart, we used the gaschromatography/mass spectrometry method. This method is very rapid, specific and sensitive. Gas analysis shows that the composition of the recovered gas differs from the original injected mixture. In particular, O2 present in the recovered gas decreases sharply; in the heart gas CO2 appears immediately; N2 appears and remains relatively stable. Therefore the recovered gas could be misunderstood as putrefactive gas and the differential diagnosis can be very sophisticated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-164
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Medicine, Biology and the Environment
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • Autopsy
  • Gas analysis
  • Gas embolism
  • Iatrogenic pathology
  • Oxygen-ozone therapy
  • Putrefaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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