Srpski arhiv za celokupno lekarstvo 2010 Volume 138, Issue 5-6, Pages: 376-378
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Suicidal asphyxiation by propane-butane mixture inside a plastic bag: Case report

Živković Vladimir, Juković Fehim, Nikolić Slobodan

Introduction Volatiles are easily accessible and widely used in a form of liquid petroleum gas. Death as a consequence of inhalation of volatiles can be either accidental or suicidal. Case Outline We present a 62-year-old men who committed suicide by placing a plastic bag over the head and inhaling propane-butane mixture from a domestic gas tank. A rubber hose was attached to the tank valve and connected with the plastic bag. The body of the deceased showed signs of advanced postmortal changes. A suicidal note was found at the scene. Conclusion Propane-butane mixture, i.e. liquified petroleum gas leads to the depletion of oxygen in the air consequently causing hypoxia and anoxia, and therefore, unconsciousness and eventual death. The mechanisms of death in cases of volatile inhalation include cardiac arrhythmias, reflex cardiac vagal inhibition, and/or central nervous system depression. Similar mechanisms occur in cases of asphyxiation with a plastic bag. The reconstruction of the event in this case was based, not so much on autopsy findings (because of significant putrefaction changes), but on the police investigation and traces found at the scene. .

Keywords: suicide, propane-butane mixture, asphyxia, plasticbag, forensic pathology

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