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Forensic aspects of postmortem serum carbohydrate-deficient transferrin analysis as a marker of alcohol abuse

Author(s): Popović Vesna | Atanasijević Tatjana | Nikolić Slobodan | Božić Nataša | Vujčić Zoran | Micić-Labudović Jelena

Journal: Srpski Arhiv za Celokupno Lekarstvo
ISSN 0370-8179

Volume: 141;
Issue: 3-4;
Start page: 203;
Date: 2013;
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Keywords: alcoholism | carbohydrate-deficient transferrin (CDT) | postmortem analysis | specificity | sensitivity

Introduction. Carbohydrate-deficient transferrin (CDT) has been suggested as one of alcohol abuse indicators having produced good results in forensic medicine for years. Objective. The aim of the study was to identify correlation between present methodology of alcohol abuse diagnosis at autopsy (macroscopic and microscopic findings) and CDT examination using the method of isoelectrofocusing (IEF) in polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE). We also analyzed if the time interval between the moment of death and blood sample collection influences CDT findings. Methods The method used for CDT analysis was IEF-PAGE. Sera of 49 males and 11 females aged 14-87 years, average age 46.85±18.53, were used in this study. Control group consisted of five patients who died after medical treatment that lasted longer than 15 days, and five patients who started Disulfiram therapy in controlled hospital environment. Results. The results obtained in CDT examination in dead bodies’ sera showed sensitivity 59% and specificity 71%. A high incidence of falsely positive CDT result was noticed in liver failure and cirrhosis of non-alcoholic origin. CDT analysis is also possible to be done in samples collected postmortem up to 76 hours. Conclusion. In forensic medicine, the method of CDT determination is reliable for the diagnosis of alcohol abuse.
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