Virtopsy: postmortem imaging of the human heart in situ using MSCT and MRI.

Jackowski, Christian; Schweitzer, Wolf; Thali, Michael; Yen, Kathrin; Aghayev, Emin; Sonnenschein, Martin; Vock, Peter; Dirnhofer, Richard (2005). Virtopsy: postmortem imaging of the human heart in situ using MSCT and MRI. Forensic science international, 149(1), pp. 11-23. Elsevier Scientific Publ. Ireland 10.1016/j.forsciint.2004.05.019

Full text not available from this repository. (Request a copy)

The rapid further development of computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) induced the idea to use these techniques for postmortem documentation of forensic findings. Until now, only a few institutes of forensic medicine have acquired experience in postmortem cross-sectional imaging. Protocols, image interpretation and visualization have to be adapted to the postmortem conditions. Especially, postmortem alterations, such as putrefaction and livores, different temperature of the corpse and the loss of the circulation are a challenge for the imaging process and interpretation. Advantages of postmortem imaging are the higher exposure and resolution available in CT when there is no concern for biologic effects of ionizing radiation, and the lack of cardiac motion artifacts during scanning. CT and MRI may become useful tools for postmortem documentation in forensic medicine. In Bern, 80 human corpses underwent postmortem imaging by CT and MRI prior to traditional autopsy until the month of August 2003. Here, we describe the imaging appearance of postmortem alterations--internal livores, putrefaction, postmortem clotting--and distinguish them from the forensic findings of the heart, such as calcification, endocarditis, myocardial infarction, myocardial scarring, injury and other morphological alterations.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute of Legal Medicine
04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute for Evaluative Research into Orthopaedic Surgery

UniBE Contributor:

Jackowski, Christian; Thali, Michael; Yen, Kathrin; Aghayev, Emin and Dirnhofer, Richard


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




Elsevier Scientific Publ. Ireland




Antoinette Angehrn

Date Deposited:

05 Nov 2015 12:42

Last Modified:

05 Nov 2015 12:42

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:



Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback