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Postmortem ventilation in cases of penetrating gunshot and stab wounds to the chest


Germerott, Tanja; Preiss, Ulrich S; Ross, Steffen G; Thali, Michael J; Flach, Patricia M (2013). Postmortem ventilation in cases of penetrating gunshot and stab wounds to the chest. Legal Medicine, 15(6):298-302.

Abstract

We sought to determine the effect of postmortem ventilation in combination with a suction pump in cases showing penetrating trauma to the chest with haemo- and/or pneumothorax, for better evaluation of the lungs in postmortem computed tomography (PMCT). The study included 6 subjects (1 female, 5 male; age 32-67 years) with a penetrating gunshot or stab wound to the chest and consecutive pneumo- and/or haemothorax. The pneumo- and haemothorax were evacuated by a suction pump, and postmortem ventilation was applied using a home care ventilator. PMCT images with and without postmortem ventilation were compared, as well as the autopsy results. In three cases haemo- and pneumothorax was clearly reduced. Postmortem ventilation led to distinct re-expansion of the lungs in two cases, and to re-expansion of single lung lobes in two cases with shotgun injuries. No visible effect was seen in the remaining two cases, because of extensive destruction of lung tissue and blood aspiration. In two cases the injuries sustained in the individual lung lobes were successfully located during postmortem ventilation. The bullet channel was apparent in one case; in another case, injury of the pericardium became visible by generating pneumopericardium. The present method is capable of improving evaluation of the postmortem lung in the presence of single stab or gunshot wounds and if there is no severe destruction of the respiratory system and aspiration. Forensic autopsy should still be considered as the gold standard, although in some cases the present method might be helpful, especially where no autopsy is required. © 2013 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

Abstract

We sought to determine the effect of postmortem ventilation in combination with a suction pump in cases showing penetrating trauma to the chest with haemo- and/or pneumothorax, for better evaluation of the lungs in postmortem computed tomography (PMCT). The study included 6 subjects (1 female, 5 male; age 32-67 years) with a penetrating gunshot or stab wound to the chest and consecutive pneumo- and/or haemothorax. The pneumo- and haemothorax were evacuated by a suction pump, and postmortem ventilation was applied using a home care ventilator. PMCT images with and without postmortem ventilation were compared, as well as the autopsy results. In three cases haemo- and pneumothorax was clearly reduced. Postmortem ventilation led to distinct re-expansion of the lungs in two cases, and to re-expansion of single lung lobes in two cases with shotgun injuries. No visible effect was seen in the remaining two cases, because of extensive destruction of lung tissue and blood aspiration. In two cases the injuries sustained in the individual lung lobes were successfully located during postmortem ventilation. The bullet channel was apparent in one case; in another case, injury of the pericardium became visible by generating pneumopericardium. The present method is capable of improving evaluation of the postmortem lung in the presence of single stab or gunshot wounds and if there is no severe destruction of the respiratory system and aspiration. Forensic autopsy should still be considered as the gold standard, although in some cases the present method might be helpful, especially where no autopsy is required. © 2013 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Legal Medicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:340 Law
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2013
Deposited On:24 Oct 2013 07:34
Last Modified:07 Dec 2017 23:02
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:1344-6223
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.legalmed.2013.08.002
PubMed ID:24060461

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