Real-time near-body drug screening during autopsy I: use of the Randox biochip drugs of abuse DOA i and DOA II immunoassays

Poppy McLaughlin, Derrick Pounder, Peter Maskell, David Osselton*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Screening for drugs of abuse is widely employed as part of forensic toxicology investigations. The nature of specimens collected at autopsy varies depending on local customs, the case circumstances, and the condition of the cadaver. It is generally accepted that wherever possible specimens of peripheral blood, liver, stomach contents, vitreous humor, and muscle can be useful for toxicological analysis. In some countries, legislation or religious custom may mitigate against the removal of postmortem tissue unless shown to be necessary. The availability of a sensitive and broad ranging near-body screening test may provide a useful tool to assist pathologists in making decisions regarding the retention of tissues for toxicology analysis. We describe the performance of the Randox drugs-of-abuse (DOA) arrays, DOA I and DOA II, for near-body screening using whole blood, urine, vitreous humor, liver, and psoas major muscle. Samples were obtained from 106 autopsies and screened for the presence of amphetamine, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, benzoylecgonine, buprenorphine, cannabinoids, fentanyl, ketamine, lysergic acid diethylamide, methadone, methamphetamine, methaqualone, methylenedioxymethylamphetamine (Ecstasy), opiates, oxycodone, phencyclidine, and propoxyphene in the mortuary whilst the postmortem was being performed. Blood from each case underwent confirmatory analysis using either gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry or diode array detection. Excellent agreement between the near-body screening tests on a variety of tissues and confirmatory analyses in blood was obtained.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-118
Number of pages6
JournalForensic Toxicology
Issue number1
Early online date10 Aug 2012
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes


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