Clinical radiology and postmortem imaging (Virtopsy) are not the same: Specific and unspecific postmortem signs

Christe, Andreas; Flach, Patricia; Ross, Steffen; Spendlove, Danny; Bolliger, Stephan; Vock, Peter; Thali, Michael J (2010). Clinical radiology and postmortem imaging (Virtopsy) are not the same: Specific and unspecific postmortem signs. Legal medicine, 12(5), pp. 215-22. Amsterdam: Elsevier 10.1016/j.legalmed.2010.05.005

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The aim of this article is to disclose the characteristics of postmortem forensic imaging; give an overview of the several possible findings in postmortem imaging, which are uncommon or new to clinical radiologists; and discuss the possible pitfalls. Unspecific postmortem signs are enlisted and specific signs shall be presented, which are typical for one cause of death. Unspecific signs. Livor mortis may not only be seen from the outside, but also inside the body in the lungs: in chest CT internal livor mortis appear as ground glass opacity in the dependent lower lobes. The aortic wall is often hyperdense in postmortem CT due to wall contraction and loss of luminal pressure. Gas bubbles are very common postmortem due to systemic gas embolism after major open trauma, artificial respiration or initial decomposition; in particular putrefaction produces gas bubbles globally. Specific signs. Intracranial bleeding is hyperattenuating both in radiology and in postmortem imaging. Signs of strangulation are hemorrhage in the soft tissue of the neck like skin, subcutaneous tissue, platysma muscle and lymph nodes. The "vanishing" aorta is indicative for exsanguination. Fluid in the airways with mosaic lung densities and emphysema (aquosum) is typical for fresh-water drowning.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute of Legal Medicine > Forensic Medicine
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Radiology, Neuroradiology and Nuclear Medicine (DRNN) > Institute of Diagnostic, Interventional and Paediatric Radiology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Radiology, Neuroradiology and Nuclear Medicine (DRNN) > Institute of Diagnostic and Interventional Neuroradiology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute of Legal Medicine
04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute of Legal Medicine > Forensic Imaging

UniBE Contributor:

Christe, Andreas; Flach, Patricia; Ross, Steffen; Bolliger, Stephan; Vock, Peter and Thali, Michael

ISSN:

1344-6223

Publisher:

Elsevier

Language:

English

Submitter:

Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:10

Last Modified:

16 Jul 2014 15:09

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.legalmed.2010.05.005

PubMed ID:

20630787

Web of Science ID:

000281009300001

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/1550 (FactScience: 203325)

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