The Carbon Monoxide (CO) is known as the “Silent Killer“ as it is a colorless, odorless, and tastless gas, with a high degree of toxicity. It is produced by the incomplete combustion of organic matter caused by insufficient oxygen supply.

CO has an affinity with the hemoglobin of red blood cells approximately 230 times stronger than oxygen, consequentely it is able to replace O2 of HEME groups producing a compound called carboxyhemoglobin (COHb). In such circumstances, the blood is no longer able to carry oxygen, thus causing the progressive death of cells and tissues. Symptoms and disorders worse with the increase of the percentage of carbon monoxide in blood causing, in extreme cases, death.

The present work shows how the Static Headspace coupled to a Gas Chromatograph (HS-GC), a throughly accepted and widely used technique in the forensic field, can also be exploited for the analysis of CO in autopsy blood. Many forensic laboratories, in fact, already own, know and use every day this technique for the determination of ethanol in biological and/or seized samples. With a simple instrumental implementation of the Static Headspace-GC configuration for the Blood Alcohol Analysis, it is possible to obtain the most reliable and sensitive solution for the determination of Carbon Monoxide in autopsy blood.

Currently used methods, under some circumstances, may not result reliable, especially when the putrefaction process is occurring. In this respect, Static Headspace-GC technique is not affected by such interference, as it can saparate the CO from the blood. For this reason this technique is considered a highly sensitive, specific, and reliable solution.

In particular, the Valve&Loop Master SHS - Static Headspace Sampler - guarantees highly repeatable results and avoids the risk of false results, sample loss or recondensation. The chemically inert flow path eliminates analytical carryover and maintains sample integrity. Moreover, the Digital Flow Control of the Master GC greatly contributes to obtain highly repeatable results.

The high acquisition rate of the TCD detector - up to 300 Hz - provides a large amount of information for correct peak reconstruction andthe highest sensitivity on the market from this type of detector.


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