Study of vitreous potassium correlation with time since death in the postmortem range from 2 to 110 hours using capillary ion analysis

Academic Article


  • The time-dependent postmortem increase of potassium concentration in the eye fluids has been studied since the 1960s. However, important discrepancies on the reproducibility of the phenomenon have hampered the use of this parameter in real cases. In recent years, a new analytical approach based on capillary ion analysis (CIA) has been reported. In the present work, the correlation between vitreous potassium and postmortem interval (PMI) has been re-evaluated by using CIA in a group of 164 cases with PMIs ranging from 2 to 110 hours. The correlation of the two parameters was described by the following regression equation: y = 0.1733x + 2.3008 (x = PMI; y = K+ concentration); correlation coefficient = 0.962. The re-calculation of PMIs on the basis of this equation provided calculated PMIs with an average error of 5.54 hours (SD = 4.16). However, the percent PMI calculation error decreased with the increase of PMI, becoming acceptable for practical application above 24 hours since death.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Bortolotti F; Pascali JP; Davis GG; Smith FP; Brissie RM; Tagliaro F
  • Volume

  • 51
  • Issue

  • SUPPL. 1