Intrahepatic gas at postmortem computed tomography: forensic experience as a potential guide for in vivo trauma imaging

Jackowski, Christian; Sonnenschein, Martin; Thali, Michael J; Aghayev, Emin; Yen, Kathrin; Dirnhofer, Richard; Vock, Peter (2007). Intrahepatic gas at postmortem computed tomography: forensic experience as a potential guide for in vivo trauma imaging. Journal of trauma - injury, infection, and critical care, 62(4), pp. 979-88. Baltimore, Md.: Lippincott, Williams, & Wilkins 10.1097/01.ta.0000198733.22654.de

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BACKGROUND: Until August 2004 there were 106 forensic cases examined with postmortem multislice computed tomography (MSCT) and magnetic resonance (MR) imaging before traditional autopsy within the Virtopsy project. Intrahepatic gas (IHG) was a frequent finding in postmortem MSCT examinations. The aim of this study was to investigate its cause and significance. METHODS: There were 84 virtopsy cases retrospectively investigated concerning the occurrence, location, and volume of IHG in postmortem MSCT imaging (1.25 mm collimation, 1.25 mm thickness). We assessed and noted the occurrence of intestinal distention, putrefaction, and systemic gas embolisms and the cause of death, possible open trauma, possible artificial respiration, and the postmortem interval. We investigated the relations between the findings using the contingency table (chi2 test) and the comparison of the postmortem intervals in both groups was performed using the t test in 79 nonputrefied corpses. RESULTS: IHG was found in 47 cases (59.5%). In five of the cases, the IHG was caused or influenced by putrefaction. Gas distribution within the liver of the remaining 42 cases was as follows: hepatic arteries in 21 cases, hepatic veins in 35 cases, and portal vein branches in 13 cases; among which combinations also occurred in 20 cases. The presence of IHG was strongly related to open trauma with systemic gas. Pulmonary barotrauma as occurring under artificial respiration or in drowning also caused IHG. Putrefaction did not seem to influence the occurrence of IHG until macroscopic signs of putrefaction were noticeable. CONCLUSIONS: IHG is a frequent finding in traumatic causes of death and requires a systemic gas embolism. Exceptions are putrefied or burned corpses. Common clinical causes such as necrotic bowel diseases appear rarely as a cause of IHG in our forensic case material.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

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

UniBE Contributor:

Jackowski, Christian; Thali, Michael; Dirnhofer, Richard and Vock, Peter

ISSN:

0022-5282

ISBN:

17426557

Publisher:

Lippincott, Williams, & Wilkins

Language:

English

Submitter:

Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:51

Last Modified:

06 Dec 2013 13:44

Publisher DOI:

10.1097/01.ta.0000198733.22654.de

PubMed ID:

17426557

Web of Science ID:

000245698500029

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/21558 (FactScience: 7424)

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