Multi-slice computed tomography (MSCT) of mountaineering casualties in the Swiss Alps - Advantages and limitations

Steffen, Ross; Suter, Cosima; Patricia, Flach; Lars, Oesterhelweg; Michael, Thali; Stephan, Bolliger (2010). Multi-slice computed tomography (MSCT) of mountaineering casualties in the Swiss Alps - Advantages and limitations. Legal medicine, 12(6), pp. 271-5. Amsterdam: Elsevier 10.1016/j.legalmed.2010.06.002

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As an Alpine country, Switzerland has not only a thriving mountaineering tourist industry, but also many mountaineering casualties. At the request of the state attorney, most of the victims undergo only an external inspection without autopsy. One of the main tasks of the forensic pathologist under these circumstances is the correct identification of the deceased for a fast release to their kin. Nevertheless, detailed knowledge of the injuries sustained may lead to improved safety measures, such as better protective equipment. In this study, we examined the feasibility of using cross-sectional imaging with postmortem multi-slice computed tomography (MSCT) to detect lesions of the skeletal structures and internal organs. For this purpose, we used whole-body MSCT to examine 10 corpses that suffered fatal falls from great height while climbing in the Swiss part of the European Alps from the years 2007 to 2009. We conclude that postmortem CT imaging is a valuable tool for dental identification and is superior to plain X-rays as a viable compromise between a solely external legal inspection and an autopsy because it delivers otherwise irretrievable additional internal findings non-invasively. This fact is of great importance in cases where an autopsy is refused.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute of Legal Medicine

UniBE Contributor:

Ross, Steffen








Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:10

Last Modified:

04 May 2014 23:05

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URI: (FactScience: 203561)

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