Sudden death during arrest and phencyclidine intoxication

Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 2003 Jun;24(2):119-22. doi: 10.1097/01.paf.0000064520.90683.5a.


Deaths of individuals being arrested are important and complex medicolegal cases. Conclusions regarding the cause and manner of death for such cases must take into account multiple factors that may have played a role, as well as anticipate the forensic issues that will arise. In this article, we review the deaths of 2 individuals in which phencyclidine intoxication was a factor that contributed to death during arrest. Most cases of sudden death during arrest have involved cocaine intoxication; because phencyclidine's pharmacologic properties are quite different from those of cocaine, these cases allow for comparisons to those factors that may have greater importance.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Death, Sudden / etiology*
  • Death, Sudden / pathology
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Forensic Medicine / methods
  • Hallucinogens / poisoning*
  • Humans
  • Law Enforcement / methods*
  • Male
  • Maryland
  • Phencyclidine / poisoning*
  • Psychoses, Substance-Induced / etiology


  • Hallucinogens
  • Phencyclidine