DR Peterson, RF Labbe, G van Belle and NM Chinn
Postmortem heart blood aspirates from 24 consecutive sudden infant deaths and 23 consecutive infant deaths from other causes yielded evidence of erythrocyte transketolase activity (ETKA) in every instance. ETKA measurements from cadaver specimens have not been previously reported. ETKA values did not correlate with the interval from death to sampling or with age at death. Activity coefficients from postmortem material corresponded closely to those from previous studies on living subjects which suggests that the method of Bayoumi and Rosalki yields valid measurements at least for 77 h postmortem. Statistical comparisons of the sudden infant deaths with non-sudden infant deaths revealed no significant differences. This investigation failed to disclose evidence in favor of the hypothesis, advanced by Read, that unsuspected thiamin deficiency may explain some cases of the sudden infant death syndrome.