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Butane Gas Inhalation Resulting in Death: Two Case Reports

Ramazan Ilhan, Adem Artar, Celal Butun, Fatma Yucel Beyaztas.

Today, abuse of volatile substances is an increasingly common public health problem in Turkey, as throughout the world. These substances are attractive to childen and adolescents as products containing inhalants are relatively inexpensive, legally and easily accessible, have a rapid effect and unwanted symptoms disappear quickly. Case No 1: A 16-year old male collapsed in the street who was intubated by paramedics and taken to the Emergency Department. A cigarette lighter and gas refill can were found in his pockets. Case No 2: The dead body of a 17-year old male who lived with his parents was found in the kitchen of their house. There was a court record of substance abuse inhalation. In the autopsies of both cases, the brain and cerebellum were observed to be hyperemic and oedematous. Hyperemia was also observed in tracheal and gastric mucosa. Toxicological and histopathological analyses were applied after the autopsies. Butane, as the active ingredient of lighter gas, was confirmed in samples of blood, bile and internal organs in the toxicology analysis. Histopathological examination of the brain, cerebellum, lung, liver and kidneys determined congestion. In this study, it was aimed to emphasize the importance of the causes of the increasing prevalence of inhalant abuse in children and young adults and the significance of forensic autopsy in the determination of the cause of death. To prevent inhalant abuse of substances which can be obtained cheaply and easily in our country, visual-auditory education-training and appropriate legal regulations are required.

Key words: Abuse of volatile substances, butane, adolescent, autopsy, forensic medicine

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