Postmortem magnetic resonance imaging: Reproducing typical autopsy heart measurements

Ampanozi, Garyfalia; Hatch, Gary M; Flach, Patricia M; Thali, Michael J; Ruder, Thomas (2015). Postmortem magnetic resonance imaging: Reproducing typical autopsy heart measurements. Legal medicine, 17(6), pp. 493-498. Elsevier 10.1016/j.legalmed.2015.10.008

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The aim of this study was to evaluate the utility of cardiac postmortem magnetic resonance (PMMR) to perform routine measurements of the ventricular wall thicknesses and the heart valves and to assess if imaging measurements are consistent with traditional autopsy measurements.


In this retrospective study, 25 cases with cardiac PMMR and subsequent autopsy were included. The thicknesses of the myocardial walls as well as the circumferences of all heart valves were measured on cardiac PMMR and compared to autopsy measurements. Paired samples T-test and the Wilcoxon-Signed rank test, were used to compare autopsy and cardiac PMMR measurements. For exploring correlations, the Pearson's Correlation coefficient and the Spearman's Rho test were used.


Cardiac PMMR measurements of the aortic and pulmonary valve circumferences showed no significant differences from autopsy measurements. The mitral and tricuspid valves circumferences differed significantly from autopsy measurements. Left myocardial and right myocardial wall thickness also differed significantly from autopsy measurements. Left and right myocardial wall thickness, and tricuspid valve circumference measurements on cardiac PMMR and autopsy, correlated strongly and significantly.


Several PMMR measurements of cardiac parameters differ significantly from corresponding autopsy measurements. However, there is a strong correlation between cardiac PMMR measurements and autopsy measurements in the majority of these parameters. It is important to note that myocardial walls are thicker when measured in situ on cardiac PMMR than when measured at autopsy. Investigators using post-mortem MR should be aware of these differences in order to avoid false diagnoses of cardiac pathology based on cardiac PMMR.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


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

UniBE Contributor:

Ruder, Thomas


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Aisha Stefania Mzinga

Date Deposited:

21 Mar 2016 09:57

Last Modified:

21 Mar 2016 09:57

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Forensic imaging; Heart valves circumference; Myocardial wall thickness; Postmortem cardiac MR; Virtopsy; Virtual autopsy




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