European Radiology

, Volume 25, Issue 8, pp 2381–2389 | Cite as

Temperature dependence of postmortem MR quantification for soft tissue discrimination

  • Wolf-Dieter Zech
  • Nicole Schwendener
  • Anders Persson
  • Marcel J. Warntjes
  • Christian Jackowski
Magnetic Resonance



To investigate and correct the temperature dependence of postmortem MR quantification used for soft tissue characterization and differentiation in thoraco-abdominal organs.

Material and methods

Thirty-five postmortem short axis cardiac 3-T MR examinations were quantified using a quantification sequence. Liver, spleen, left ventricular myocardium, pectoralis muscle and subcutaneous fat were analysed in cardiac short axis images to obtain mean T1, T2 and PD tissue values. The core body temperature was measured using a rectally inserted thermometer. The tissue-specific quantitative values were related to the body core temperature. Equations to correct for temperature differences were generated.


In a 3D plot comprising the combined data of T1, T2 and PD, different organs/tissues could be well differentiated from each other. The quantitative values were influenced by the temperature. T1 in particular exhibited strong temperature dependence. The correction of quantitative values to a temperature of 37 °C resulted in better tissue discrimination.


Postmortem MR quantification is feasible for soft tissue discrimination and characterization of thoraco-abdominal organs. This provides a base for computer-aided diagnosis and detection of tissue lesions. The temperature dependence of the T1 values challenges postmortem MR quantification. Equations to correct for the temperature dependence are provided.

Key points

Postmortem MR quantification is feasible for soft tissue discrimination and characterization

Temperature dependence of the T1 values challenges the MR quantification approach

The results provide the basis for computer-aided postmortem MRI diagnosis

Diagnostic criteria may also be applied for living patients


Postmortem magnetic resonance imaging Quantitative MRI MRI temperature dependence Soft tissue Thoraco-abdominal organs 



Magnetic resonance imaging


Proton density


Postmortem resonance imaging


Region of interest




Echo time


Repetition time





The scientific guarantor of this publication is Prof. Christian Jackowski MD, Head of Department, Institute of Forensic Medicine, Bern/Switzerland. The authors of this manuscript declare no relationships with any companies whose products or services may be related to the subject matter of the article. The authors state that this work has not received any funding. Beat Kneubuehl, PhD, kindly provided statistical advice for this manuscript. Institutional review board approval was not required because all cases/corpses were investigated by order of the local prosecutors. The prosecutors agreed to research on corpses when the personal data of the deceased persons are treated as strictly confidential. Since we treat all personal data of corpses as confidential we have information from the institutional review board that approval from the review board is not necessary for all our conducted postmortem studies including postmortem imaging. Written informed consent was not required for this study because the subjected studies were deceased persons. None of the study subjects or cohorts have been previously reported. Methodology: prospective, experimental, performed at one institution.


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Copyright information

© European Society of Radiology 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wolf-Dieter Zech
    • 1
  • Nicole Schwendener
    • 1
  • Anders Persson
    • 2
  • Marcel J. Warntjes
    • 2
  • Christian Jackowski
    • 1
  1. 1.From the Institute of Forensic MedicineUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland
  2. 2.The Center for Medical Image Science and Visualization (CMIV)University of LinköpingLinköpingSweden

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