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Fatal Intoxications in the North of Portugal: 12 Years of Retrospective Analysis

[ Vol. 12 , Issue. 1 ]

Author(s):

Emanuele A. Alves, Pedro Brandao, Teresa Magalhaes, Felix Carvalho and Ricardo J. Dinis-Oliveira   Pages 39 - 45 ( 7 )

Abstract:


Background: Fatal intoxications are a topic of great relevance in today’s society. They typically occur by accidental or voluntary ingestion, but its characterization by a forensic perspective was not fully explored.

Objective: This study retrospectively reviews fatal intoxication cases autopsied at the northern forensic medicine services of Portugal, between 2001 and 2013.

Method: For this purpose, we analyzed postmortem forensic medical reports with positive qualitative analysis for xenobiotics.

Results: A total of 27,778 autopsy reports were analyzed, of which 1,269 cases fulfilled the selection criteria, representing 4.6% of total number of individuals autopsied during the period under analysis. Men were involved in most of the cases (73.8%) and most individuals were adults with ages between 36 and 65 years old (57.0%). The highest incidences were medicines (22.9%) and alcohol (15.8%), followed by their association. Cases of fatal intoxications involving opioids come on fifth place (5.8%) namely due to accidental overdoses. Moreover, intoxications appeared as the leading cause of death in reports concerning accidental etiology, with drugs and alcohol associations having a great expression.

Conclusion: Due to morbidity and relevant number of fatal cases, risk prevention measures, such as public health policies should be implemented to reduce the number of intoxications.

Keywords:

Alcohol, fatal intoxications, forensic autopsy, medicines, xenobiotics.

Affiliation:

Department of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Porto, Alameda Prof. Hernani Monteiro, 4200-319, Porto,, Department of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Porto, Alameda Prof. Hernani Monteiro, 4200-319, Porto



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