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Noninvasive 7 tesla MRI of fatal craniocerebral gunshots – a glance into the future of radiologic wound ballistics


Gascho, Dominic; Deininger-Czermak, Eva; Zoelch, Niklaus; Tappero, Carlo; Sommer, Stefan; Hinterholzer, Natalie; Thali, Michael J (2020). Noninvasive 7 tesla MRI of fatal craniocerebral gunshots – a glance into the future of radiologic wound ballistics. Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology, 16:595-604.

Abstract

Compared to computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provides superior visualization of the soft tissue. Recently, the first 7 Tesla (7 T) MRI scanner was approved for clinical use, which will facilitate access to these ultra-high-field MRI scanners for noninvasive examinations and scientific studies on decedents. 7 T MRI has the potential to provide a higher signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), a characteristic that can be directly exploited to improve image quality and invest in attempts to increase resolution. Therefore, evaluating the diagnostic potential of 7 T MRI for forensic purposes, such as assessments of fatal gunshot wounds, was deemed essential. In this article, we present radiologic findings obtained for craniocerebral gunshot wounds in three decedents. The decedents were submitted to MRI examinations using a 7 T MRI scanner that has been approved for clinical use and a clinical 3 T MRI scanner for comparison. We focused on detecting tiny injuries beyond the wound tract caused by temporary cavitation, such as microbleeds. Additionally, 7 T T<jats:sub>2</jats:sub>-weighted MRI highlighted a dark (hypo intense) zone beyond the permanent wound tract, which was attributed to increased amounts of paramagnetic blood components in damaged tissue. Microbleeds were also detected adjacent to the wound tract in the white matter on 7 T MRI. Based on the findings of radiologic assessments, the advantages and disadvantages of postmortem 7 T MRI compared to 3 T MRI are discussed with regard to investigations of craniocerebral gunshot wounds as well as the potential role of 7 T MRI in the future of forensic science.

Abstract

Compared to computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provides superior visualization of the soft tissue. Recently, the first 7 Tesla (7 T) MRI scanner was approved for clinical use, which will facilitate access to these ultra-high-field MRI scanners for noninvasive examinations and scientific studies on decedents. 7 T MRI has the potential to provide a higher signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), a characteristic that can be directly exploited to improve image quality and invest in attempts to increase resolution. Therefore, evaluating the diagnostic potential of 7 T MRI for forensic purposes, such as assessments of fatal gunshot wounds, was deemed essential. In this article, we present radiologic findings obtained for craniocerebral gunshot wounds in three decedents. The decedents were submitted to MRI examinations using a 7 T MRI scanner that has been approved for clinical use and a clinical 3 T MRI scanner for comparison. We focused on detecting tiny injuries beyond the wound tract caused by temporary cavitation, such as microbleeds. Additionally, 7 T T<jats:sub>2</jats:sub>-weighted MRI highlighted a dark (hypo intense) zone beyond the permanent wound tract, which was attributed to increased amounts of paramagnetic blood components in damaged tissue. Microbleeds were also detected adjacent to the wound tract in the white matter on 7 T MRI. Based on the findings of radiologic assessments, the advantages and disadvantages of postmortem 7 T MRI compared to 3 T MRI are discussed with regard to investigations of craniocerebral gunshot wounds as well as the potential role of 7 T MRI in the future of forensic science.

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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 > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics
04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Legal Medicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:340 Law
610 Medicine & health
510 Mathematics
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Pathology and Forensic Medicine
Uncontrolled Keywords:Pathology and Forensic Medicine, General Medicine
Language:English
Date:12 September 2020
Deposited On:28 Sep 2020 12:10
Last Modified:19 Feb 2021 08:39
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:1547-769X
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s12024-020-00300-w
PubMed ID:32920765

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