Anabolic-androgenic steroids (AASs) are frequently misused. To determine causes of death, characteristics, toxicology, and pathology of AAS positive cases, all cases (n = 24) presenting to the New South Wales Department of Forensic Medicine (1995-2012) were retrieved. All were male, and the mean age was 31.7 years. Deaths were mainly due to accidental drug toxicity (62.5%), then suicide (16.7%) and homicide (12.5%). Abnormal testosterone/epitestosterone ratios were reported in 62.5%, followed by metabolites of nandrolone (58.3%), stanozolol (33.3%), and methandienone (20.8%). In 23 of 24 cases, substances other than steroids were detected, most commonly psychostimulants (66.7%). In nearly half, testicular atrophy was noted, as was testicular fibrosis and arrested spermatogenesis. Left ventricular hypertrophy was noted in 30.4%, and moderate to severe narrowing of the coronary arteries in 26.1%. To summarize, the typical case was a male polydrug user aged in their thirties, with death due to drug toxicity. Extensive cardiovascular disease was particularly notable.
Keywords: cardiovascular disease; demographics; forensic science; psychostimulants; steroids; toxicology.
© 2014 American Academy of Forensic Sciences.