Greater thickness of the aortic wall on postmortem computed tomography compared with antemortem computed tomography: the first longitudinal study
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To evaluate postmortem changes of the aorta on postmortem computed tomography (CT) in comparison with those on antemortem CT obtained in the same patients.
Materials and Methods
We studied 57 consecutive patients who had undergone antemortem CT, postmortem CT, and pathological autopsy in our tertiary care hospital between April 2009 and December 2010. Postmortem CT was performed within 20 h after death, followed by pathological autopsy. Pathological autopsy confirmed the absence of cardiovascular disease such as aortic aneurysm, aortic dissection, or Marfan syndrome in all patients. Aortic wall thickness and aortic cross-sectional areas were measured on both antemortem CT and postmortem CT. Difference in aortic wall thickness between antemortem CT with and without contrast medium, and between antemortem CT and postmortem CT, and in cross-sectional area of the aortic wall between antemortem CT and postmortem CT was evaluated statistically.
No significant difference in aortic wall thickness was observed on antemortem CT in comparison of contrasted and non-contrasted images. The aortic wall was significantly thicker on postmortem CT than on antemortem CT (p < 0.0001). No significant difference in cross-sectional area of the aortic wall was observed between antemortem CT and postmortem CT measurements.
This is the first longitudinal study to confirm greater thickness of the aortic wall on postmortem images compared with antemortem images in the same patients and to show no change in cross-sectional area of the aortic wall between before and after death.
KeywordsPostmortem diagnosis Postmortem changes Computed tomography Aorta Forensic imaging
This work was supported by a grant from the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare, for research into “Usefulness of Postmortem Images as an Ancillary Method for Autopsy in Evaluation of Death Associated with Medical Practice (2008–2009).”
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