MDCT is comparable to conventional autopsy in demonstrating airway froth and sediment that are indicative of drowning.
"Our findings show that MDCT can be used either to facilitate or reduce the need for conventional autopsy when drowning is the suspected cause of death," said lead author Angela D. Levy, M.D., from the Department of Radiology, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md.
The determination of drowning as a cause of death for a body that is found in water is imperative in forensic investigation because becoming submerged in water may be a secondary rather than primary event. Autopsy findings that support the diagnosis of drowning include but are not limited to frothy fluid in the airways or lungs, hyperinflated and congested lungs, and fluid in the paranasal sinuses or stomach.
There are some advantages to virtual autopsy compared to conventional autopsy. In cases of suspicious death, the procedure does not damage or destroy key forensic evidence, as can happen during a conventional autopsy. In addition, MDCT can be used in situations where autopsy may not be feasible or is prohibited by religious beliefs. However, in most cases, MDCT would best be employed as an adjunct to routine autopsy.
Dr. Levy and colleagues performed total-body MDCT exams on 28 consecutive male drowning victims and a control group of 12 men who were victims of sudden death from coronary artery disease. Following MDCT, routine autopsies were performed.
MDCT images were evaluated for the presence of fluid and sediment in the paranasal sinuses and airways, fluid in the ear, frothy fluid in the airways, obscured "ground-glass" appearance or thickening in the lungs, and swelling, fluid or sediment in the stomach. Images were then compared to autopsy reports and photographs.
MDCT indicated that all of the drowning victims had fluid in the paranasal sinuses and ears and ground-glass opacity in the lungs. Twenty-six (93 percent) had fluid in the subglottic (below the vocal cords) trachea and main bronchi. Fourteen (50 percent) had sediment in the subglottic airways. Six (21 percent) had frothy fluid in the airways, and 25 (89 percent) had ground-glass opacity and thickening in the lungs. Twenty-five (89 percent) exhibited swelling of the stomach.
No members of the control group had frothy fluid or sediment in the airways or sinuses, 11 (92 percent) had subglottic airway, tracheal and bronchial fluid. All members of the control group exhibited collapsed stomachs.
Autopsy results in these categories were similar to MDCT results for both study groups.
"Airway froth and sediment can be demonstrated on MDCT and were specific to drowning, thereby replicating the findings seen at autopsy," said Dr. Levy.
Based on this study, MDCT may provide support for the diagnosis of drowning when other causes of death have been excluded by a limited autopsy or external examination of the body. In addition, MDCT virtual autopsy may be useful as a pre-autopsy triage tool in mass casualty scenarios.
"More and more, advanced imaging tools such as MDCT are being applied to forensic investigations," Dr. Levy said. "In the future, imaging in forensics may be just as important as imaging in clinical medicine."
Linda Brooks | EurekAlert!
Visualizing gene expression with MRI
23.12.2016 | California Institute of Technology
Illuminating cancer: Researchers invent a pH threshold sensor to improve cancer surgery
21.12.2016 | UT Southwestern Medical Center
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.
The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences
17.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
17.01.2017 | Architecture and Construction