Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New non-surgical autopsy technique set to revolutionise post-mortem practice

01.03.2011
Breakthrough science is cost-effective and easy to use
A new non-surgical post-mortem technique that has the potential to revolutionise the way autopsies are conducted around the world has been pioneered by forensic pathologists and radiologists at the University of Leicester in collaboration with the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.
 
The technique developed by a team in the East Midlands Forensic Pathology Unit, at the University of Leicester, has been published today (1 March) in International Journal of Legal Medicine. This paper presents the development of the methodology and protocol for this technique from independent research commissioned by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).
 
The study has taken another step towards a minimally invasive autopsy for natural and unnatural deaths, for either single cases or mass fatalities. It could also potentially allay qualms from certain faith groups that object to autopsies.
 
Professor Guy Rutty, Chief Forensic Pathologist to the East Midlands Forensic Pathology Unit, which is part of the Department of Cancer Studies and Molecular Medicine, University of Leicester, said the pilot study had demonstrated the potential of the technique to change the future of post-mortem procedures.
 
He said: “Autopsies are not popular with the general public and are viewed with great distaste.  There are a number of faith groups who voice objections to the autopsy. The development of a minimally invasive autopsy technique would reduce the overall number of invasive autopsies performed in the UK but would still provide a service to the Coroner and determine the cause of a person’s death. Currently, without the use of angiography, cardiac related death cannot be reliably diagnosed using a post mortem CT (Computed Tomography) scan so we needed to develop a system that could do this.”
 
“In collaboration with the radiology team, lead by Professor Bruno Morgan, we have successfully developed a quick and simple technique of ‘minimally invasive targeted coronary angiography’ where we inject contrast into the body of a deceased person through a small incision in the neck and then perform a full body CT scan. Using this method we are able to determine the cause of death in up to 80% of cases (in the series analysed to date).
 
“Basically, the technique is used to highlight and examine the vessels of the heart in people who have died. The technique is inexpensive, easy to use and applicable to natural and unnatural death, both single and mass fatalities.”
 
Professor Rutty explained the technique was novel because it uses catheterisation, contrast and imaging techniques that have not been reported previously. “Developing a new catheterisation system and using two different types of contrast to highlight the coronary vessels (air and standard coronary radio-opaque contrast media) sets us apart from other research groups,” he said.
 
Professor Rutty added:  “We were the first Unit in the world to our knowledge to propose targeted angiography as the way forward, and are now the first to describe the development, methodology and protocols involved for cadaver cardiac CT angiography.  Other groups have done whole body angiography which is time consuming and expensive and is unlikely to be implemented in the UK for everyday autopsies. 
 
“We are incredibly excited about the potential of this new research. This technique could see the beginning of a permanent change in autopsy practice in the UK, with fewer autopsies being performed.  This technique could be used in other centres across the world.”
 
The research paper presents the results from an initial pilot of 24 cases.  The University team will now complete a further 200 cases this year to further evaluate the technique and build a bigger evidence base.
 
For more information, contact:
 
Professor Guy N Rutty MBE
Chief Forensic Pathologist
East Midlands Forensic Pathology Unit
University of Leicester
Tel: 0044 116 252 3221
gnr3@le.ac.uk
 
 
1.         This paper presents independent research commissioned by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) under its Research for Innovation, Speculation and Creativity (RISC) Programme (Grant Reference Number RC-PG-0309-10052). The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health.
 
2.         The East Midlands Forensic Pathology Unit  wish to thank the relatives who consented for their recently departed loved ones to be part of this study. The team also wish to thank H.M.Coroner offices for North and South Leicestershire for their support of this project as well as the porters, radiographers and support staff of both the University Hospitals of Leicester and University of Leicester who support this project.
 
3.         The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) provides the framework through which the research staff and research infrastructure of the NHS in England is positioned, maintained and managed as a national research facility. The NIHR provides the NHS with the support and infrastructure it needs to conduct first-class research funded by the Government and its partners alongside high-quality patient care, education and training. Its aim is to support outstanding individuals (both leaders and collaborators), working in world-class facilities (both NHS and university), conducting leading-edge research focused on the needs of patients. www.nihr.ac.uk
 
  
Press Office Contact
 
Ather Mirza
Press Office
Division of Corporate Affairs and Planning
University of Leicester
tel: 0116 252 3335
email: pressoffice@le.ac.uk

Ather Mirza | University of Leicester
Further information:
http://www.le.ac.uk

More articles from Medical Engineering:

nachricht New technique makes brain scans better
22.06.2017 | Massachusetts Institute of Technology

nachricht New technology enables effective simultaneous testing for multiple blood-borne pathogens
13.06.2017 | Elsevier

All articles from Medical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>