Arnon Jumlongkul M.D., Pongpol Traithepchanapai M.D.
Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand
Objective: Formaldehyde exposure is a risk factor for cancer in humans. Recent studies have revealed that salt solution can preserve human and animal tissues with a quality equal to formaldehyde. This study is the ﬁ rst attempt to compare effectiveness between formaldehyde and salt solution preservation by quantitative measurement of tissue discoloration, volume and weight of human liver and brain.
Methods: Each section of liver and brain were obtained from ten (10) deceased persons and embalmed in 10%, 20%, 30% sodium chloride salt solution and 10% formaldehyde. Discoloration, volume, and weight of each sample were quantitatively measured by colorimeter on the 1st day before the embalming process and also on the 3rd, 7th, 14th, 28th, and 56th day of embalming.
Results: All the brain samples, which were preserved by 10% salt solution had decomposed and there were only four samples in the 20% salt solution sample group that survived to the 56th day of the embalming. There was no statistically signiﬁ cant difference of the 56th and the 1st day of the embalming between the samples preserved in the 30% salt solution versus the formaldehyde. The liver samples, which were embalmed by 10% and 20% salt solution, tended to decompose. There was statistically signiﬁ cant difference between 30% salt solution and formaldehyde in A and L color (p-value < 0.001). This indicates that liver preserved in 30% salt solution shows less discoloration than formaldehyde.
Conclusions: The 30% salt solution can be an alternative choice for human liver and brain embalming since it is a non-carcinogenic substance which shows less discoloration compared to samples preserved in formaldehyde.