Postmortem serum uric acid and creatinine levels in relation to the causes of death

Bao Li Zhu, Kaori Ishida, Li Quan, Mari Taniguchi, Shigeki Oritani, Dong Ri Li, Masaki Q. Fujita, Hitoshi Maeda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)


Serum uric acid (UA) and creatinine (Cr) mainly derive from skeletal muscle tissues. Although, remarkable postmortem stability of the serum levels has been reported, there appears to be very poor knowledge of the diagnostic value in investigation of death, except for uremia. The aim of the present study was to evaluate postmortem serum UA and Cr levels using 395 forensic autopsy cases, in comparison with blood urea nitrogen (BUN), for investigation of the pathophysiology of death with special regard to the causes of death involving possible skeletal muscle damage, e.g. due to hypoxia, heat or agonal convulsions. Cr and BUN showed relatively good topographic stability in the cadaveric blood, whereas, UA was often much higher in the right heart blood than in the left heart and peripheral blood, independent of postmortem intervals. Moderate to marked elevation of Cr and BUN accompanied with hyperuricemia was observed in delayed death. In the acute death cases (survival time <30min), UA, especially in the right heart blood, showed a considerable elevation in mechanical asphyxiation and drowning. The Cr level in fire victims with a lower carboxyhemoglobin (COHb) level (<60%) was significantly higher than in those with the possible fatal level (>60%). A similar elevation of Cr was observed in fatalities from heat stroke and methamphetamine (MA) poisoning. The observations suggested that hyperuricemia in acute death may be indicative of advanced hypoxia and that elevated Cr level may reflect the skeletal muscle damage, especially due to thermal influence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-66
Number of pages8
JournalForensic Science International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002 Jan 24
Externally publishedYes


  • Blood urea nitrogen
  • Creatinine
  • Forensic pathophysiology
  • Hyperuricemia
  • Hypoxia
  • Skeletal muscle
  • Thermal injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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