Korean J Leg Med.  2012 May;36(1):1-14. 10.7580/KoreanJLegMed.2012.36.1.1.

Postmortem Biochemistry (I) : Cardiac Markers

  • 1Department of Forensic Medicine and the Research Institute of Forensic Science, Chonnam National University Medical School, Gwang-Ju, Korea. jtpark@jnu.ac.kr
  • 2Chonnam National University Law School, Gwang-Ju, Korea.
  • 3Korea Basic Science Institute, Korea.


In cases of atherosclerotic occlusion of coronary artery, is it appropriate to conclude that myocardial infarction is the true cause of death? More sensitive and specific diagnostic methods for the postmortem diagnosis of myocardial infarction are sometimes necessary because macroscopic or microscopic changes associated with early-phase acute myocardial injuries or myocardial infarct are sometimes absent in sudden cardiac death. Postmortem biochemical assessment of cardiac markers may help to evaluate the pathological cardiac status in sudden unexpected death without obvious cause. However, forensic pathologists are generally interested only in the macroscopic and microscopic findings for postmortem diagnosis of myocardial diseases and hesitate to use postmortem biochemical data because of the risk of postmortem changes. There are several clinically useful cardiac markers antemortem cardiac events such as myocardial injuries, infarct, or heart failure and postmortem data on cardiac markers in autopsy cases of sudden death have been reported. This review of postmortem data on cardiac markers in blood, other body fluids, and myocardial tissue will serve to introduce the recent international research trends and provide a foundation for a new field in postmortem biochemistry.


postmortem biochemistry; cardiac markers; sudden death

MeSH Terms

Body Fluids
Coronary Vessels
Death, Sudden
Heart Failure
Myocardial Infarction


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