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Essentials of forensic post-mortem MR imaging in adults


Ruder, Thomas D; Thali, Michael J; Hatch, Gary M (2014). Essentials of forensic post-mortem MR imaging in adults. British Journal of Radiology, 87(1036):20130567.

Abstract

Post-mortem magnetic resonance (PMMR) imaging is a powerful diagnostic tool with a wide scope in forensic radiology. In the past 20 years, PMMR was used both as adjunct and alternative to autopsy. The role of PMMR in forensic death investigations largely depends on the rules and habits of local jurisdictions, availability of experts, financial resources, and individual case circumstances.PMMR images are affected by post-mortem changes, including position dependent sedimentation, variable body temperature, and decomposition. Investigators must be familiar with the appearance of normal findings on PMMR to distinguish them from disease or injury.Coronal whole-body images provide a comprehensive overview. Notably, STIR (short-tau-inversion-recovery) images enable investigators to screen for pathologic fluid accumulation, which we refer to as "forensic sentinel sign". If scan time is short, subsequent PMMR imaging may be focussed on regions with a positive forensic sentinel sign.PMMR offers excellent anatomical detail and is especially useful to visualise pathologies of the brain, the heart, the subcutaneous fat tissue, and the abdominal organs. PMMR may also be used document skeletal injury. Cardiovascular imaging is a core area of PMMR imaging and growing evidence indicates that PMMR may be able to detect ischemic injury at an earlier stage than traditional autopsy and routine histology.The aim of this review is to present an overview of normal findings on forensic PMMR, provide general advice on the application of PMMR and summarise the current literature on PMMR imaging of the head and neck, the cardiovascular system, the abdomen and the musculoskeletal system.

Abstract

Post-mortem magnetic resonance (PMMR) imaging is a powerful diagnostic tool with a wide scope in forensic radiology. In the past 20 years, PMMR was used both as adjunct and alternative to autopsy. The role of PMMR in forensic death investigations largely depends on the rules and habits of local jurisdictions, availability of experts, financial resources, and individual case circumstances.PMMR images are affected by post-mortem changes, including position dependent sedimentation, variable body temperature, and decomposition. Investigators must be familiar with the appearance of normal findings on PMMR to distinguish them from disease or injury.Coronal whole-body images provide a comprehensive overview. Notably, STIR (short-tau-inversion-recovery) images enable investigators to screen for pathologic fluid accumulation, which we refer to as "forensic sentinel sign". If scan time is short, subsequent PMMR imaging may be focussed on regions with a positive forensic sentinel sign.PMMR offers excellent anatomical detail and is especially useful to visualise pathologies of the brain, the heart, the subcutaneous fat tissue, and the abdominal organs. PMMR may also be used document skeletal injury. Cardiovascular imaging is a core area of PMMR imaging and growing evidence indicates that PMMR may be able to detect ischemic injury at an earlier stage than traditional autopsy and routine histology.The aim of this review is to present an overview of normal findings on forensic PMMR, provide general advice on the application of PMMR and summarise the current literature on PMMR imaging of the head and neck, the cardiovascular system, the abdomen and the musculoskeletal system.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Legal Medicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:340 Law
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:21 Nov 2013 09:01
Last Modified:10 Aug 2017 08:29
Publisher:British Institute of Radiology
ISSN:0007-1285
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1259/bjr.20130567
PubMed ID:24191122

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