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 True to type: From human biopsy to complex gut physiology on a chip
14.02.2018 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard

nachricht The Scanpy software processes huge amounts of single-cell data
12.02.2018 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

All articles from Medical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Contacting the molecular world through graphene nanoribbons

19.02.2018 | Materials Sciences

When Proteins Shake Hands

19.02.2018 | Materials Sciences

Cells communicate in a dynamic code

19.02.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>