Simplified Approach to Post Mortem Findings in Toxicology –With Mnemonics

Toxicology is one of the less discussed and underrated topics in Forensic Medicine during entire 3rd year. Due to hectic postings and classes in Major subjects, most of the medical students often miss studying this topic until the board exam approaches the door. From exam point of view, Toxicology is really important subject as it carries significant amount of marks. Since it contains wide range of topics, it is impossible to finish studying everything during exam preparation hours.

The list and tables given below will save much of your time spent in memorization during the final exam so that you will be able to spend remaining time in other untouched topics. This approach is framed in systemic way so that it will be easier to remember.


Cardiovascular System and Associated Poisonings

Mnemonic- CDE

Post Mortem Changes


Associated Poisoning
C –Cardiac Hypertrophy
  • Lead
D-Dilated Cardiomyopathy
  • Chronic  Alcohol
E-subEndocardial Hemorrhage
  • Arsenic
  • Barbiturate


Respiratory System and Associated Poisoning

There are 2 important findings and associated poisoning in the Respiratory Tract. Remember those using the Following Visual Mnemonic Aid.


Brain and Associated Poisoning

Post Mortem FindingsAssociated Poisoning
Brain is edematous and congested
  • Mnemonic- POEM





Cerebellar Hemorrhage and Necrosis
  • Mnemonic-ABC



C-Carbon Monoxide



Post Mortem Findings in Kidney

Post Mortem FindingsAssociated Poisoning
Parenchymatous  Degenerative Changes
  • Mnemonic-MBA




PCT(Proximal Convoluted Tubule)   Necrosis
  • Mnemonic-2P (P=Pct)


P-Plumbum (Latin name for Lead)

Hemorrhagic Nephritis
  • Phenol


The Gastrointestinal Tract

Post Mortem FindingsAssociated Poisoning
Esophagus-> Congestion, Corrosion and Inflammation
  • Mnemonic –MAP


A-Acids & AlP4


Stomach-> Hyperemia and congestion of mucous membranes
  • Mnemonic-BILES






Stomach-> Color Stains
  • Adherent White- Arsenic
  • Blackening/Charring of wall -HCl/H2SO4
  • Yellow Stain on wall-  HNO3
  • Slate Coloured Stain- Mercury
Stomach-> Presence of seeds/capsule/powder
  • Capsule/Powder-Barbiturate
  • Seed remains- Strychinine, Datura



Liver, the organ of Chronic  Alcohol:

Important Post Mortem Findings include:

  1. Congestion
  2. Fatty Infiltration
  3. Cirrhosis


Viscera and internal organs are congested???

There is an obvious temptation to write the above statement at the end at any poisoning question during exams but we need to careful as irrelevant statements might irritate some examiners.   The most important ones where it should not be missed can be remembered by mnemonic “SCABO”



A- Acute Alcohol, Aluminum Phosphide

B- Barbiturate

O-Opiate, Organophosphate


Author Bio-



Binay Kafle
Final MBBS Student
KIST Medical College


-The Essentials of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, K.S Reddy
-Death and Deduction: A Reasoned Approach to Forensic Pathology, AJ. Chapman

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