OBJECTIVES: Minimally invasive or virtual autopsies are being advocated as alternative to traditional autopsy, but have limited abilities to detect coronary artery disease. It was the objective of this study to assess if the occurrence of chemical shift artifacts (CSA) along the coronary arteries on non-contrast, post-mortem cardiac MR may be used to investigate coronary artery disease. METHODS: We retrospectively compared autopsy and CT findings of 30 cases with significant (≥75%), insignificant (<75%), or absent coronary artery stenosis to post-mortem cardiac MR findings. The chi-square test was used to investigate if the occurrence of CSA depends on the presence or absence of stenosis. Sensitivity, specificity and predictive values were calculated for each finding. RESULTS: CSA indicates the absence of (significant) stenosis (p<0.001). The occurrence of paired dark bands in lieu of CSA on post-mortem cardiac MR suggests (significant) coronary arteries stenosis (p<0.001). Both findings have a high specificity but low sensitivity. CONCLUSIONS: CSA is a marker of vessel patency. The presence of paired dark bands indicates stenosis. These criteria improve the ability of minimally invasive or virtual autopsy to detect coronary artery disease related deaths.