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Fatality in a Wine Vat

La Harpe, Romano MD; Shiferaw, Kebede MD; Mangin, Patrice MD; Burkhardt, Sandra MD

The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology: June 2013 - Volume 34 - Issue 2 - p 119–121
doi: 10.1097/PAF.0b013e31828bb9ef
Case Reports

Intoxication with carbon dioxide (CO2), a nonexplosive, colorless, and odorless gas does not cause any clinical symptoms or signs, with the occasional exception of sudation. Carbon dioxide is principally used in the food industry (70% of CO2 production), in particular to preserve foods and to carbonate beverages. Most fatalities resulting from CO2 intoxication are accidental and occur either in closed spaces or when dry ice is used in the food industry. In this case report, a 42-year-old male winemaker engineer was found dead, his head inside a wine vat that had been filled with grapes on the previous day and supplemented with dry ice to improve the taste of wine.

From the Centre Universitaire Romand de Médecine Légale, Genève, Switzerland.

Manuscript received April 4, 2011; accepted June 23, 2011.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Reprints: Romano La Harpe, MD, Centre Universitaire Romand de Médecine Légale, Rue Michel-Servet 1, CH-1211 Genève 4, Switzerland. E-mail:

© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.