• forensic science;
  • postmortem chemistry;
  • death investigation;
  • beta-hydroxybutyrate;
  • ketones;
  • vitreous fluid;
  • diabetes;
  • alcoholism

Abstract:  Vitreous beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) was retrospectively analyzed in 1795 forensic cases using the Pointe Scientific method. Comparison of vitreous BHB with vitreous glucose in 1781 of the cases showed moderately good correlation r = 0.731. Comparison with blood alcohol levels in 1561 of the cases showed no correlation = −0.053. Vitreous BHB was a marker of diabetic ketoacidosis when above 6.0 mM with a vitreous glucose over 200 mg/dL. It was an indicator (>50%) for alcoholic ketoacidosis when above 6.0 mM with a vitreous glucose below 200 mg/dL. Recommendations for interpretation of vitreous BHB: <0.4 mM normal; 0.41–1.2 mM slightly elevated, rarely (<1%) of concern; 1.21–2.0 mM moderately elevated, less rarely (2.5%) of concern; 2.01–6.0 mM significantly elevated, frequently of concern (12–48%); >6.0 mM usually (100% in this study) indicated life-threatening conditions. Vitreous BHB was helpful evaluating cases with ketogenic conditions, especially diabetes and alcoholism.