|MadSci Network: Medicine|
Injection of an adequate dose of potassium chloride intravenously will cause arrhythmia and cardiac arrest in a human due to distruption of action potential across the heart muscle cell membrane. This is a well known fact and has been employed in novels and movies from time to time in the past (eg House of God by S. Shem) as a reliable means of murdering someone. Apparently, the beauty of this was that the mechanism of death would not be easily detected, since - following death - serum potassium levels increase as cells begin to lyse in a corpse. My question is one to the pathologist: is there technology in necropsy now available which can detect whether someone has died due to a potassium injection? If so, what kind of methodology is used, including equipment? Also, what would make a pathologist suspicious of this if a medical history is inconclusive? (no, i'm not a raving murderer - i'm writing a novel with this in mind) Regards
Re: can excess potassium befound in the blood on autopsy that suggests homicide
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