[Suicidal administration of elemental arsenic]

Arch Kriminol. 1990 Mar-Apr;185(3-4):80-8.
[Article in German]


A case of suicidal arsenic poisoning with predominantly gastrointestinal symptomatology is reported. According to his own statement, a student of chemistry had taken in 30 g of metallic arsenic. During the following period he suffered from frequent vomiting and excessive diarrhoea. Approximately 15 hours after the oral application he sought for medical help and was brought into a hospital. Despite of gastric lavage with carbo animalis, hemodialysis, and BAL as antidote the patient died after a survival time of altogether 48 hours. By means of x-ray fluorescence analysis and atomic absorption spectrometry 350 mg of arsenic could be detected in the gastric fluid of the corpse; x-ray diffractometric analysis actually proved the presence of elemental arsenic. Nevertheless it can't be excluded that the metallic form was contaminated with arsenic oxides. The paper presents the clinical course, the analytical data, and the postmortem findings.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arsenic Poisoning*
  • Brain / pathology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Overdose / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Kidney / pathology
  • Liver / pathology
  • Lung / pathology
  • Male
  • Myocardium / pathology
  • Suicide / legislation & jurisprudence*