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Forensic scientists use postmortem imaging-guided biopsy to determine natural causes of death

Date:
October 22, 2010
Source:
American College of Radiology / American Roentgen Ray Society
Summary:
Researchers found that the combination of computed tomography, postmortem CT angiography and biopsy can serve as a minimally invasive option for determining natural causes of death such as cardiac arrest, according to a new study.
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Researchers found that the combination of computed tomography (CT), postmortem CT angiography (CTA) and biopsy can serve as a minimally invasive option for determining natural causes of death such as cardiac arrest, according to a study in the November issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

In the last decade, postmortem imaging, especially CT, has gained increasing acceptance in the forensic field. However, CT has certain limitations in the assessment of natural death.

"Vascular and organ pathologic abnormalities, for example, generally cannot be visualized accurately using native CT scans. To address the problem of these abnormalities, postmortem angiography has been implemented with great success," said Stephan A. Bolliger, MD, lead author of the study.

Researchers from the Institute of Forensic Medicine, Centre for Forensic Imaging and Virtopsy, at the University of Bern in Bern, Switzerland, examined 20 bodies in a minimally invasive fashion using CT, CTA and biopsy and compared the results to those obtained at subsequent autopsy. Results showed that the minimally invasive examination showed almost identical results in 18 of 20 cases.

"The combination of CT, postmortem CTA and biopsy is a valid tool to examine bodies in a minimally invasive fashion. However, a close collaboration between pathologists and radiologists is imperative for the correct sampling and diagnostic assessment and, therefore, for the success of such an undertaking," said Bolliger.


Story Source:

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by American College of Radiology / American Roentgen Ray Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. S. A. Bolliger, L. Filograna, D. Spendlove, M. J. Thali, S. Dirnhofer, S. Ross. Postmortem Imaging-Guided Biopsy as an Adjuvant to Minimally Invasive Autopsy With CT and Postmortem Angiography: A Feasibility Study. American Journal of Roentgenology, 2010; 195 (5): 1051 DOI: 10.2214/AJR.10.4600

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American College of Radiology / American Roentgen Ray Society. "Forensic scientists use postmortem imaging-guided biopsy to determine natural causes of death." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 October 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101021113004.htm>.
American College of Radiology / American Roentgen Ray Society. (2010, October 22). Forensic scientists use postmortem imaging-guided biopsy to determine natural causes of death. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101021113004.htm
American College of Radiology / American Roentgen Ray Society. "Forensic scientists use postmortem imaging-guided biopsy to determine natural causes of death." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101021113004.htm (accessed July 30, 2015).

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