Suicidal Fatality from Azide Ingestion

J Forensic Sci. 2015 Nov;60(6):1666-7. doi: 10.1111/1556-4029.12857. Epub 2015 Jul 26.


A 35-year-old man ingested an unknown amount of sodium azide and died within 2 h. The postmortem interval was 3 days. No alcohol or drugs were found in the blood and urine. Azide was derivatized in the peripheral blood, urine, and vitreous fluid with propionic anhydride. A portion of the headspace was injected onto a gas chromatograph with a nitrogen-phosphorus detector. Azide was quantitated in the peripheral blood (1.1 μg/mL), urine (7.5 μg/mL), and vitreous (43 μg/mL). The vitreous appears to be a better fluid for azide screening because of slower degradation.

Keywords: azide fatality; forensic science; gas chromatography-nitrogen-phosphorus detector; poison; suicide; toxicology.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chromatography, Gas
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / analysis
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / poisoning*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sodium Azide / analysis
  • Sodium Azide / poisoning*
  • Suicide*
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry
  • Vitreous Body / chemistry


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Sodium Azide