Abstract

Purpose: Due to admitted limits of autopsy-based studies in the diagnosis of drowning, virtopsy is considered the new imaging horizon in these post-mortem studies. The aim of our study was to evaluate the role of virtopsy performed through computed tomography (CT) in the forensic diagnosis of drowning.Materials and methods: We retrospectively examined the CT data of four cadavers recovered from sea water and suspected to have died by drowning. Each patient underwent a full-body post-mortem CT scan, and then a traditional autopsy.Conclusion: To date, there are no autopsy findings pathognomonic of drowning. This study proves that virtopsy is a useful tool in the diagnosis of drowning in that it allows us to understand if the victim was alive or dead when he entered the water and if the cause of death was drowning.Results: All the cadavers showed fluid in the airways and patchy ground-glass opacities in the lung. Only one patient had no fluid in the digestive tract; this patient had a left parietal bone fracture with a large gap and other multiple bone fractures (nose, clavicle, first rib and patella). One of the three patients who had fluid in the digestive tract had no fluid in the paranasal sinuses. This latter patient showed cerebral oedema with subarachnoid and intraventricular haemorrhage, multiple bone fractures (orbital floor, ribs, sacrum and acetabular edge) and air in the heart, in the aorta and in bowel loops. © 2014, Italian Society of Medical Radiology.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Numero di pagine5
RivistaLA RADIOLOGIA MEDICA
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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